Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis, Dentsu and WPP have pledged their collective support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations this morning in a session at Cannes Lions hosted by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
Under the ‘Common Ground’ umbrella, each agency will focus on a different SDG during the coming year with Sir Martin Sorrell urging other agencies to join the initiative and tackle the SDG around refugees.
Yannick Bolloré, chairman and chief executive of Havas; Michael Roth, chairman and chief executive of IPG; John Wren, president and chief executive of Omnicom; Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis Groupe; and Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and chief executive of WPP joined the UN Secretary General on stage to launch the Common Ground initiative.
Havas will focus on climate, IPG will tackle water, Omnicom will work on education, Publicis will adopt food and WPP will work with gender diversity. Tadashi Ishii, chief executive and president of Dentsu was unable to attend but send a video message of support.
In addition, the six companies have agreed to provide a development fund for each of the winning ideas in the Cannes Young Lions competition, which this year is devoted solely to the SDGs.
This is the first time the Young Lions have been given a development fund. The funds will be used to develop the concepts and give them the strongest possible chance of being put into practice.
In a joint statement, the agencies said: “The Common Ground initiative recognises that the global issues the UN has identified transcends 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.”