August 2017

Leading with purpose

Speaking at the UN headquarters, James Shapiro, resident director, North America, Tata Sons, emphasized that innovation and technology will be key drivers for the achievement of objectives

It was a moment of pride for Tata Sons, when James Shapiro, resident director, North America, represented the organization for two interactive panel discussions at the United Nations (UN) headquarters last month. The panel discussions were focused on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or 'Global Goals'.

“I was honored to join some of the brightest minds in the industry to discuss the path to folding sustainability into a company’s day-to-day operations,” remarked Mr Shapiro. “The Tata group has a long tradition of commitment to sustainability with the goal of improving lives, in part because of its commitment to the UN’s Global Goals. This event was a great forum to share some of Tata’s experiences and to have the opportunity to hear and learn from thought leaders in the space,” Mr Shapiro said.

  • High-level political forum on private sector investment in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. L-R: Kristian Jensen, minister of finance, Denmark; Gavin Wilson, CEO, IFC Asset Management Company; Rina Gee Kupferschmid-Rojas, head of sustainable finance, UBS; Frans Lindelöw, CEO, Skandia; James Shapiro, resident director for North America, Tata Sons; and Nick Chism, deputy head of global sales and markets, government and healthcare, KPMG
  • James Shapiro, resident director for North America, Tata Sons, speaking at the high-level political forum on private sector investment in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Kristian Jensen, minister of finance, Denmark, sets the scene at the high-level political forum on private sector investment in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Recognizing a need for global standards to promote sustainability across corporates, the UN introduced its Global Goals, officially titled 'Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' in 2015. The Global Goals are 17 objectives and actions on a global framework that call for an end to poverty, environmental destruction and worldwide conflict by 2030.

The Global Goals outline a vision for sustainable development, aiming to reshape the practice of development globally, including the role of the private sector. The Tata group believes that the role of business is not just about giving back to society through its profits but also ensuring that the processes it employs to earn these profits are ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sound. Tata has just released its first report on the progress made toward the Global Goals.

As a Delivery Partner of the Global Goals, the Tata group is one of many companies internationally that has committed to propel the UN’s effort. Corporations that address these challenges through business solutions not only advance their company’s risk management and secure access to resources and supply chains, but also improve the lives of millions of people within their home countries and beyond, to foreign nations.

During the course of these discussions, Mr Shapiro highlighted how the Tata group is capitalizing on the potential of businesses to implement the Global Goals and the role sustainability plays within the group’s various companies. Additionally, he stressed how Tata group companies turn vision and ambitions into effective actions, with attainable goals influenced directly by the UN. He emphasized that innovative new business models, deploying new technologies, creating and expanding new markets and reaching additional customers will be key drivers of success.

Mr Shapiro also pointed out that Tata’s stakeholders hold certain expectations for the way in which a Tata company operates, and that the appropriate response to satisfy a majority of these expectations is through the successful integration of the Global Goals into a corporate business model.