SDG Pioneer for 2020

Sonay Aykan of Colgate-Palmolive named SDG Pioneer for 2020

Global Compact Network USA recognizes outstanding champion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Sonay Aykan of Colgate-Palmolive named SDG Pioneer for 2020

Global Compact Network USA recognized the second annual USA SDG Pioneer — a business leader who is championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their company, as well as inspiring others to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Chosen from a number of highly impressive nominations, the Network is proud to recognize Sonay Aykan, Senior Associate Manager, Global Sustainability at consumer products company, Colgate-Palmolive, as its 2020 SDG Pioneer.

“Since childhood, the United Nations has been an organization I have admired for its efforts to unite the globe for the common good,” said Aykan. “I am honored to accept this recognition as approval and encouragement of Colgate’s work to reimagine a healthier future for all people, their pets, and our planet. The UN Sustainable Development Goals play a key role in aligning business objectives with global sustainability priorities and I am proud to see that Colgate’s efforts to drive social impact and preserve our environment through our products is helping achieve these ambitions.”

Aykan collaborates with subject matter experts across the Colgate-Palmolive enterprise to embed the UN SDGs into business decisions through different projects. These projects include the implementation of a materiality assessment process which, using the UN SDGs as its basis, created awareness of basic sustainability concepts throughout the company. In 2020, Aykan focused his efforts on further engagement with suppliers to reduce Colgate’s environmental impacts from purchased goods and services. This new level of collaboration has culminated in a project that will produce crucial data on emissions and water usage from suppliers, while educating them on emission and water reduction strategies, helping advance SDGs 6, 7, 13, and 15. Aykan served as a mentor at the first UN Global Compact Young SDG Innovators Program (YSIP), helping mobilize young talent from different functions, and developing new ways to embed sustainability into product design phases. One of the key projects he initiated was to integrate climate-related risks into business strategy through scenario analysis in collaboration with the finance and risk teams.

“We are very pleased to recognize Sonay Aykan as Network USA’s second SDG Pioneer for his leadership at Colgate-Palmolive to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” says Adam Roy Gordon, Engagement Director of Global Compact Network USA. “Next-generation leadership, such as his, is necessary for us to achieve the ambition of the SDGs and create the world we want.”

As the winner of the national round, Aykan will now compete in the global round along with other candidates for the title of 2020 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers. The global winners will be announced at the 2021 Virtual Leaders Summit.

About the SDG Pioneers Program

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact works with companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 70 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at

About Global Compact Network USA

Launched in 2007, the Global Compact Network USA (GCNUSA) is the local network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. Working closely with Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, Network USA identified next-generation sustainability leaders for the SDG Pioneers Competition. Network USA is a non-profit organization that supports U.S.-based entities in:

  • Operating in alignment with the Ten Principles of the Global Compact
  • Engaging with and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Leveraging their association with the Global Compact and United Nations and its global resource network
  • Facilitating and creating opportunities for multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration

The 2020 SDG Pioneers program has partly been made possible with generous support from Tuborg Foundation.