The United Nations Global Compact has  announced 10 new SDG Pioneers who are business leaders  doing an exceptional job to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is  through the implementation of the UN Global Compact Ten Principles on human rights, environment, labour and anti-corruption. 

The global search focused on professionals working at any level in a company participating in the UN Global Compact with the winners selected coming from every continent. Their work spans various areas from climate mitigation and adaptation to circular economy and digital transformation. 

Vera Karmeback, Sustainability Manager, RA International based in Nairobi, has been recognized among the 10 global SDG pioneers for promoting gender equality. Through her perseverance, RA boosted its percentage of female employees to 15% as of 2022, up from 10% in 2019, improved its skills development and training to promote 6% of its local workforce between 2019 and 2022 and in 2020 set its first science-based targets to reduce emissions from its most established sites.

Ms. Karmeback, who is Swedish, grew up in Berlin and has lived in Nairobi for the past 10 years, was promoted to Sustainability Manager in early 2021. Dubai-based RA International provides integrated facilities management, construction needs and supply chain operation and maintenance for companies around the world. RA International Kenya has been an active participant of the Global Compact Network Kenya since May 2020.

“The future of sustainability is no longer about edifying a select few with a special ability for putting new ideas into action. It is clear through the ambitious work done by these professionals that each person and organization have a role to play in mobilizing skills, abilities and life experiences in order to advance toward a more fair and equitable society in which everyone has what they need to live and prosper,” said Judy Njino, Executive Director of Global Compact Network Kenya during the announcement.

The 2022 SDG Pioneers announced at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit yesterday are: 

  • Vera Karmeback, Sustainability Manager, RA International, United Arab Emirates
  • Gustavo Cirigliano, Chief Executive Officer, Sofis Solutions, Uruguay 
  • Denise Hills, Sustainability Director for Latin America, Natura &Co, Brazil
  • Viktor Ivanchyk, Chief Executive Officer, Astarta-Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, Chief Executive Officer, Maithri Aquatech Pvt Ltd, India
  • David Orr, Trade and Investment Account Leader, Mott MacDonald, United Kingdom
  • Gabriel Tan, Director, GUAVA Amenities Pte Ltd, Singapore 
  • Chong Tong, Science & Technology Administrator, Suzhou Power Supply Company of State Grid Corporation of China, China
  • Dimitar Tsotsorkov, Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Asarel-Medet JSC, Asarel-Medet JCS, Bulgaria
  • Iris van Wanrooij, Program Manager Corporate Social Responsibility, EMMA Safety Footwear, the Netherlands

With this award, it is hoped the SDG Pioneers will continue to champion the Sustainable Development Goals in their local communities, inspiring others to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leading the way to a more sustainable future.

The SDG Pioneer entries were judged by a panel from the UN Global Compact Expert Network, alongside previous SDG Pioneers and representatives from academia and UN agencies. The selection criteria included the individuals’ commitment to embedding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into their companies’ core strategies and their efforts to advance the SDGs as well as their engagement with the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks.