Universidade Católica Portuguesa, was ranked in 2020 as the 1st University in Portugal by the Times Higher Education – THE, for the 2nd year in a row. This makes us very proud, but above all, deeply aware of the responsibility we have as leader for advancing the sustainable agenda for society. Thus, last summer (in the midst of a profound COVID crisis) we initiated the process to become a member of the United Nations Global Compact.

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 13,000 participants and other stakeholders across 170 countries. It aims to mobilise a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders. To make this happen, the UN Global Compact supports companies to:

  1. Do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption; and
  2. Take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.


The positive news arrived at the beginning of September, when we officially integrated the Global Compact Network, bringing Universidade Católica to the core of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, as a positive contributor, alongside companies and other educational institutions in Portugal and across the world.

As Universidade Católica positions itself as a SDG ambassador, the Center for Responsible Business and Leadership will play a key role within the University in bringing the SDG’s to the core of the Strategy of our University and its partners. Being the SDG’s one of the cornerstones of our Center’s DNA (alongside with Purpose, Responsible Leadership and the Business Case for action) this new undertaking helps us fulfil our goal of being a catalyst for Impact in the entire University, in cooperation with our Rectory.

Furthermore, SDG’s are becoming a common global language for impact and increasingly important for corporate strategies. They are the guideline for companies to contribute to global prosperity, while speaking the language of governments, partners, investors, common citizens, and consumers. Actually more than 70% of businesses in the world are already reporting and mentioning the SDG’s. However, only 25% of companies align the SDG’s with their strategies, and merely 1% measure them with specific KPI’s. These global goals represent a business opportunity worth $12 trillion USD until 2030 so a stronger strategic alignment with the SDGs is not only critical for society but also critical for the future of corporations.

In this context of both deep societal gap and tremendous business opportunity, action is needed. Our Centre for Responsible Business wants to lead the way, inspire by example and be a convenor and catalyst for impactful initiatives aligned with the SDGs. Our next steps will focus on defining clear and focused ways to integrate SDG’s as a strategic tool, and develop concrete initiatives with a pool of leading companies, as well as pioneering partnerships for impact.  

Joining the Global Compact is the starting point for an ambitious agenda. Our commitment to the sustainable agenda, society, business leaders and our partners is clear: play our role in advancing the SDG’s as a strategic tool and help executives place  responsible leadership at the service of a better world, where companies prospers and no one if left behind. 

Have a great and impactful week!

Filipa Pires de Almeida
Research Fellow
Center for Responsible Business & Leadership

This article refers to edition #62 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
Subscribe here to receive the weekly newsletter