UN Sustainable Development Goals are Pfizer's 'Christmas Windows' Display

UN Sustainable Development Goals are Pfizer's 'Christmas Windows' Display

Just two blocks from Grand Central Terminal, Pfizer’s headquarters on East 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan gets plenty of vehicular and foot traffic.

While it’s not Times Square, the location would earn a solid B+ from marketers if they could use the pharmaceutical giant’s office tower as a billboard.

So the site takeover procured by Pfizer’s Chris Gray is a feat worthy of acknowledgment.

When I last saw Chris, Pfizer’s senior director of global institutions and corporate responsibility, at the BSR Conference in San Francisco, the United Nation’s 2030 sustainable development goals had just been ratified and projected in colorful lights on the exterior of the 39-story UN Building in Manhattan.

Pfizer was poised to wrap its street-level windows with graphics showing the sustainability goals but an ill-timed construction project meant scaffolding would have obscured the signage from the tens of thousands of cars, trucks, buses, cabs, bikes and pedestrians that pass the site every day. Gray was bummed that his perfect timing had been foiled.

Fast forward six weeks: I was thrilled this past weekend to see the scaffolding gone and bright signs erected demonstrating Pfizer’s support for the UN sustainable development goals. 

Despite missing the opportunity to thoroughly impress VIPs and visitors to New York City during the UN General Assembly – including President Obama and Pope Francis – the timing of the “Christmas windows” at Pfizer might be even better today.

The proposed merger of Pfizer and Allergan is being scrutinized by regulators and criticism is mounting against the tax-avoidance component of the deal which, if consummated as proposed, would move Pfizer’s headquarters to Dublin.

I can think of no better time than now, when corporate reputation is under fire, to remind stakeholders of the positive social impact that has been driven by Pfizer for many years, and that the private sector is solidly behind the UN sustainable development goals.