Forum on Championing Business Sustainability in Uzbekistan
27 September 2022
The United Nations in Uzbekistan in close cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact and the founding members of the UN's Coalition on Business Champions for Sustainable Development, namely “Korzinka” supermarkets chain, Silverleafe, and Artel Electronics held a Forum on Championing Business Sustainability in Uzbekistan. The American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan was an information partner of the event.
The Forum played an instrumental role in introducing the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices, sustainability principles, and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integration to the private sector in Uzbekistan.
The Resident Coordinator of United Nations, Ms. Roli Asthana in her address highlighted the vital role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs through transitioning to and promoting sustainable business practices. The ensuing discussions brough together the government, private sector, international organizations, as well as experts from the UN Global Compact Local Networks of Türkiye, Georgia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Attendees also heard from representatives of Uzbekistan’s first participants of the UN Global Compact: Mr. Zafar Khashimov, Founder of “Korzinka” supermarket chain; Bektemir Murodov, CFO of Artel Electronics, and Dan Patterson, General Director of Silverleafe. These three companies are also the founding members of UN's Coalition on Business Champions for Sustainable Development. In joining the UN Global Compact, they have committed to promote the UN Global Compact’s ten principles, on labor, human rights and environmental protection.
The Forum was designed to engage the Uzbek private sector further in introducing ESG practices. Panels addressed sustainable practices in human rights and labor conditions, environment, and business modernization as well as highlighted case studies and best practice that can be of practical use to companies as they start on their sustainability journey.
The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact
Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies, and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success.
The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a different but deeply related purpose for business. As the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Goals demonstrate the scale and ambition of the boldest vision for humanity ever adopted. They represent aspirational, long-term targets for governments, business and other stakeholders to work towards creating the world we want. Together, the Ten Principles and the SDGs equip business with both the values and vision to help companies make a meaningful contribution to people and the planet.
The United Nations in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan joined the United Nations on 2 March 1992 as a new sovereign and independent state. The United Nations Office opened in Tashkent the following year. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Uzbekistan currently comprises 25 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes working together to advance national development priorities in line with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In September 2020, the UN Country Team finalized the next generation UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2021-2025), which was endorsed and signed by the Government of Uzbekistan. The Cooperation Framework articulates the UN’s collective response to supporting Uzbekistan to achieve the national SDGs with an emphasis on leaving no one behind. The Cooperation Framework is the primary instrument for planning and implementation of all UN development activities in the country, in support of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It was developed in close consultation with the Government, the Parliament and civil society in Uzbekistan and has three strategic objectives:
- Effective governance and justice for all.
- Inclusive human capital development leading to health, well-being and resilient prosperity.
- Sustainable, climate responsible and resilient development.
About the UN Global Compact
The UN Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, and to act in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. It is the largest corporate sustainability initiative globally, with over 16,000 companies and 3,000 non-business participants based in over 160 countries and more than 70 Local Networks.
About “Korzinka” supermarket chain
“Anglesey Food” FE LLC was founded in 1996 and became one of the pioneers in the supermarket retail market in Uzbekistan. Initially, the stores operated under the Anglesey Food brand and were “convenience stores”. But later, in 2005, it was decided to rebrand the company. This was the beginning of the development of the supermarket chain under Korzinka brand.
Currently Korzinka is the leading supermarket chain in Uzbekistan with more than 90 stores across 9 regions and 7500 employees.
About Silverleafe, LLC
Silverleafe is a US-Uzbek joint venture agro-cluster that started in the Jizzakh region in Uzbekistan. It brings modern practices and technologies to Uzbekistan's agriculture, irrigation, and textile industries. Silverleafe is committed to improving the lives of individuals in its local, regional, and national communities through the modernization it brings to Uzbekistan through the following tasks:
- integrate the local population into the modernization process, through training and practical training;
- contribute to the saturation of the domestic market with high-quality, competitive products, with its introduction to the international market; and
- promote the social, educational, and humanitarian programs in the field of education, medicine, and sports.
Artel is a leader in the production of household appliances and electronics in Central Asia. Founded in 2011 with limited product lines, the company now manufacturers a wide range of products, employs around 10,000 people and operates in every region in Uzbekistan. The company now also exports to 20+ export markets and is the regional partner of international brands including Samsung and Viessmann
Artel is committed to continuing to increasing its ESG position throughout its operations, as well as continuing to give back to its communities. The company has implemented a number of projects focusing on women’s rights, water provision and education throughout Uzbekistan, and supported the UN’s supported the promotion of the UN campaign on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.