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World’s Six Largest Ad Firms Unite to Support U.N. Sustainable Development Program

Lukmon Oloyede.
The world’s six largest advertising companies – Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP – are setting aside their rivalries and joining forces to help spread the word about the United Nations’ ambitious sustainable development goals with global ad campaigns.

The United Nations’ ambitious development goals range from controlling climate change to wiping out poverty.

“Today, the communications industry is taking a historic, first-of-its-kind step to beat poverty, injustice and inequality,” said Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General while speaking at the Lions Festival of Creativity, Cannes. “The six biggest communications businesses in the world have risen to what some may have said was an impossible test: they have agreed to put their differences aside in support of a joint unique and exciting initiative to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.”

The Secretary-General emphasized that success required a serious, 15-year partnership for humanity. He called the new initiative “both an example and a challenge to all of us to find our own common ground for the common good.”

In a joint statement, Tadashi Ishii, chief executive officer and president of Dentsu; Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Havas; Michael Roth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPG; John Wren, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom; Maurice Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe; and Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and Chief Executive Officer of WPP, said:

“The Common Ground initiative recognizes that the global issues the UN has identified transcend commercial rivalry. By working in partnership to support the Sustainable Development Goals, we want to demonstrate that even fierce competitors can set aside their differences in order to serve a wider common interest. We hope others in and beyond our own business decide to do the same.”

“The timing is right for this type of innovation,” elaborated the Secretary-General. “We are in the first year of implementing a 15-year plan. Getting it on track at the beginning is critical to achieving our goals at the end. The communications industry is famous for its creativity and energy. The United Nations fully supports channeling this dynamism towards answering the greatest challenges facing our planet and humanity.”

The sustainable development agenda, unanimously adopted by world leaders in September 2015, is the most ambitious anti-poverty, pro-planet agenda ever agreed, with the SDGs anchored at its centre. The agenda clearly defines the world we want – applying to all nations and leaving no one behind.

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