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Business leaders representing companies with operations in over 190 countries have thrown their weight behind the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs – launched at a major summit in New York last week – set out a new vision for a brighter, safer and more prosperous world for all. In a letter to the Financial Times the business leaders wrote: “Many businesses are already playing a leading role in promoting sustainable development, but with the right support and incentives from government we can do much more. A collaborative effort is also required to enable the transformation of business practices towards sustainability more broadly – including within the small business sector.”

Commenting on the release of the letter, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “This is a clear and visible demonstration of the business community’s commitment to the new Global Goals. We call on governments to work constructively with the private sector to deliver fully on the promise of the SDGs”.

Let us work together to seize this once in a generation opportunity to deliver a brighter and more prosperous future for all.

The full text of the letter is below and can also be found on the Financial Times website.

Sir, We represent more than 20 of the world’s leading businesses. We are writing at the initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce in advance of the formal adoption this week of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the UN’s new agenda for people, planet and prosperity.

The SDGs represent, without doubt, the most ambitious development agenda ever forged at the international level. They set out an essential road map to address some of the world’s most pressing and intractable problems, from extreme poverty through to climate change. Simply put, we all – as global citizens – have an interest in making the SDGs an unprecedented and unmitigated success.

The international development agenda is sometimes narrowly construed as a matter for governments alone, but it is clear that effective implementation of the SDGs will require widespread business support. To take one angle: official estimates place the annual investment gap in sustainable development in developing markets at up to $2.5tn annually. It is anticipated that much of this shortfall will need to be filled by private capital. In other areas, business expertise and innovation will be key if we are to limit greenhouse gas emissions, create new jobs and promote sustainable consumption cycles.

That’s why we are calling on world leaders gathering in New York this week to commit to working actively and constructively with the private sector to deliver on the promise of the new “Global Goals”. Many businesses are already playing a leading role in promoting sustainable development, but with the right support and incentives from government we can do much more. A collaborative effort is also required to enable the transformation of business practices towards sustainability more broadly – including within the small business sector.

While the SDGs address many complex issues, our message is simple: let us work together to seize this once in a generation opportunity to deliver a brighter and more prosperous future for all.

  • Harold McGraw III

Chairman Emeritus, McGraw Hill Financial

Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce

 

  • John Danilovich

Secretary-general, International Chamber of Commerce

 

  • Jack Ma

Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba

 

  • Peder Tuborgh

CEO, Arla Foods

 

  • Mark Wilson

Group CEO, Aviva

 

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal

Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises

 

  • Bernard Charles

President and CEO, Dassault Systèmes

 

  • Andrew N Liveris

Chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical Company

 

  • Frederico Curado

CEO and President, Embraer

 

  • Sheryl Sandberg

COO, Facebook

 

  • Cherie Nursalim

Vice-Chairman, Giti Group

 

  • Pablo Isla

Chairman and CEO, Inditex

 

  • Dominic Barton

Managing Director, McKinsey Company

 

  • Sung-Joo Kim

Chief Visionary Officer and Chairperson, MCM Holding AG/Sungjoo Group

 

  • Peder Holk Nielsen

President and CEO, Novozymes

 

  • Dennis Nally

Chairman, PwC

 

  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire

Chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric

 

  • Bill Winters

CEO, Standard Chartered Bank

 

  • Michel Liès

Group CEO, Swiss Re

 

  • Paul Polman

CEO, Unilever

 

  • Anders Runevad

Group President and CEO, Vestas

 

  • Sir Richard Branson

Founder, Virgin Group

 

  • Sir Martin Sorrell

CEO, WPP

For further information, please contact

  • Dawn CHARDONNAL
  • +33 (0)1 49 53 29 07
  • Head, Media Relations and Web