Private Sector and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
“The private sector will continue to be an important partner in achieving many, if not all, of the SDGs.”
Businesses of all sizes and sectors are contributing to sustainable development the world over. For the United Nations (UN), most UN entities are actively working with business to address a wide spectrum of issues from: health, food security, education, disaster risk reduction, decent work, tourism, renewable energy and climate change. There are various routes taken for collaboration from small rural businesses to start-ups, small and medium enterprises to large multinational corporations. Collaboration can likewise be with single businesses through to broad value-based frameworks for action in the form of multi-stakeholder collective initiatives.
As the international community embarks on a new global development agenda through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the private sector will continue to be an important partner in achieving many, if not all, of the SDGs. The private sector in small island developing States (SIDS) are no exception. They too, are in a position to contribute strongly to achieving the SDGs at the national, regional and global level. The SDGs are universal in nature, having been formulated through a multi-stakeholder approach with inputs from all stakeholders including governments, civil society, private sector, UN system and others. The SDGs therefore represent a collective vision of the future for sustainable development and will guide international development efforts for the next 15 years.
Given the comprehensive nature of the SDGs, the private sector will also be in a position to use the goals as a guide to its own long-term sustainable business practices. Business strategies which promote inclusive economic growth, social equity and environmental conservation will also contribute to revenue growth and strengthened corporate sustainability with long-term stability that also inspires more companies to take action. The SDG Compass provides a guide for companies to align their strategies as well as tools and indicators to measure and manage their contribution to achieving the SDGs.
Recognising the importance of the private sector to achieving the SDGs, the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015 will take place on 26 September 2015 at UN Headquarters, New York. The Forum will be convened in the context of the UN summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda and focus on the role of the private sector in implementing the SDGs.
The international business community have also played an important role in tackling climate change through innovation and partnerships. The Sustainable Innovation Forum, an annual event by Climate Action and UNEP forges partnerships between business, government and public bodies to accelerate international sustainable development and advance the ‘green economy’. The 6th annual Sustainable Innovation Forum will take place from 7 – 8 December, 2015 at the Stade de France, Paris during COP21.
Going forward, the SIDS Global Business Network (SIDS-GBN) will be an important platform for SIDS private sector to learn more about the SDGs and their role in supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the work of the UN Global Compact will be guided by the post-2015 development agenda and SDGs and will also be an important resource for the private sector to follow and participate in the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 12,000+ signatories in 170 countries structured around 10 principles companies align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. Browse the UN Global Compact’s vast library based on issue, topic, sector and by language.
Featured Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank, Flickr