Murtaza Ahmed, director of Pakistani denim mill Artistic Milliners, has been chosen as 'Sustainable Development Goal Pioneer' of the United Nations Global Compact. Each year this UN initiative, launched in 2000, recognizes a class of SDG Pioneers—business leaders, who are using business as a force for good to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
The 2019 search for SDG Pioneers focused on professionals aged 35 and under, working at any level in a company participating in the UN Global Compact. According to the UN Murtaza has been chosen for promoting gender equality and sustainable and responsible production within Pakistan’s garment industry.
In particular Ahmed worked to create a factory carrying the Platinum certification issued by the Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In synch with UN's environmental principles the entrepreneur helped create Artistic Lab, a denim research & innovation center located in Dubai, to develop sustainable innovative solutions.
In addition the 34-year-old worked on gender equality issues and, for example, filled 50 per cent of the company’s board of directors with women. Furthermore, with the launch of 'Diversity and Inclusion Strategy', Artistic Milliners aims to help the most marginalized groups in Pakistani society, including women, transgender people, differently-abled people and acid burn victims.
The SDG Pioneers were judged by an expert panel comprised of representatives of business, academia and civil society. The selection criteria included the individuals' commitment to embedding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into their companies' core strategies, their efforts to advance the SDGs, as well as their engagement with the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks.