Family Business for Sustainable Development


The Initiative

As a first of its kind partnership between the United Nations and the global family business community, UNCTAD and The Family Business Network (FBN) jointly developed the Global Initiative “Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD)”. Its ambitious package of deliverables aims at mobilizing business families and their firms to embed sustainability into their business strategies, thereby committing to concrete, measurable contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key components of the FBSD Initiative include, among others, the family business sustainability pledge and the adoption of transparent and comparable core sustainability indicators for family firm reporting.

The global UNCTAD-FBN Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD) Initiative was formally signed by Alexis du Roy, CEO, FBNi, Alfonso Libano (FBN Ambassador and then incumbent Polaris Chairman) and UNCTAD Director, Investment and Enterprise, James Zhan, on 6 December 2019, in Geneva.

The overall objective of the partnership is to provide family businesses worldwide with ways and means to integrate sustainability into their conventional business models, therefore contributing to global sustainable development and inclusive growth, as well as the prosperity of the family business.

The jointly developed FBSD framework includes key deliverables, such as the Family Business Sustainability Pledge (FBSP), the Sustainability Indicators for Family Business (SIFB) and the WIF-FBN platforms for FBSD. Further areas of collaboration, including an FBSD Capacity-building Programme, will be developed on a needs basis.

In support of the Initiative, UNCTAD draws upon several decades of successful experience as a global centre of excellence on issues related to investment and enterprise for sustainable development. Its international expertise spans research and policy analysis, inter-governmental consensus building, and technical assistance in over 150 countries.

The Family Business Network (FBN)

The Family Business Network is the world’s leading family business organisation. Founded in 1989, it is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. A vibrant community of enterprising business owners, it brings together over 4,000 family from across 65 countries. To enable members to more effectively deliver value for all of their stakeholders and create a shared prosperity, FBN developed Polaris. Launched in 2014, Polaris is FBN’s framework to deliver on the Family Business Pledge and a growing global movement of business families focused on maximising positive economic, environmental and societal impact. Polaris enables learning, innovation and co-creation to redefine success across generations.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, UNCTAD is the United Nations body responsible for economic and sustainable development issues with a focus on trade, finance, investment and technology. UNCTAD undertakes research and policy analysis on key and emerging issues, builds intergovernmental consensus among 194 member states, and assists countries to enhance the capacities for equitable integration into the global economy and improvement of the well-being of their peoples. UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise is a global centre of excellence in the area of investment and enterprise development and has been taking the lead in policy research and technical assistance at multilateral, regional and national levels. It publishes the annual flagship World Investment Report.  It organizes the bi-annual World Investment Forum (WIF), the preeminent global platform for the investment development community.


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