What you may have missed at this week’s SDG Business Forum
During a high-level political forum, at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, ICC teamed up with the UN Global Compact to convene 1,500 business leaders and government representatives to discuss how the private sector is contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The forum presented an opportunity to highlight the central role business is playing to advance the UN’s 2030 Agenda and showcased specific projects and partnerships undertaken by the global business community to implement six focus goals on health, gender equality, infrastructure, oceans, poverty, hunger and partnerships.
Here are 6 key takeaways from the forum:
- Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
When innovation is happening across all sectors, business can only be successful in a world where businesses – large and small – governments, civil society and local authorities work in partnership. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) called for governments to reconigse business as ‘our indispensible partner’ at the front line of actions towards the 2030 Development Agenda.
- Sustainable investment needs an enabling environment
Forum discussions underscored the importance of sustainable investment in reaching the SDG targets and the need for an enabling environment to facilitate efforts. Investments require stable, predictable framework conditions and level playing fields, and governments must work to ensure climates are business friendly.
- Impactful and relevant reporting is key
While businesses are reporting their contributions to the SDGs, impact can be limited if it doesn’t reach the right hands. Panelists exchanged examples on how reporting can be improved and clarified so that any business can understand and present its role in sustainable development.
- Incorporating SDGs into daily business is easier than you think
Incorporating the SDGs into daily business practices can create stronger alliances and ensure all players are using the same language. Contributions highlighted that profit is not an end but a means to progress and the private sector is ready to lead efforts.
- Empowering women is the smart thing to do
Achieving gender equality is at the heart of the 2030 Development Agenda and many businesses are implementing powerful initiatives to encourage gender equality in the work place and to support women’s career development. Businesses are also providing capacity building and training to young women to equip them with the skills to participate in the workforce. Discussion reinforced messages highlighted during an ICC/UN Women side event on accelerating women’s economic empowerment.
- Awareness raising among SMEs and MSMEs is increasingly important
Awareness raising and bridging the SDG knowledge gap within the SME and MSME community is crucial given that these local players are the backbone of the economy. In Kenya, different stakeholders are already aligning themselves with the SDGs but frameworks are needed to create partnerships and build momentum.
Examples showcased at the forum included:
Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Banka Bioloo is a women-led business organization engaged in promoting and developing innovative environmental friendly products and services for Human Waste Management System. Through technology they are able to deal with the problem of open defecation that takes place every day.
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
The Global Farmer Network gives farmers’ freedom to choose the tools, technologies and strategies they need to maximize productivity and profitability in a sustainable manner.
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
TataCompanies is developing digital health platforms using technology such as artificial intelligence and remote sensors to address health problems and increase access to crucial health services.
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Nestle is supporting female farmers so they are able to receive a decent wage and support child education and healthcare.
Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Balibago Waterworks System maintains an efficient and extensive water systems across communities. Initiatives provide high-quality water to consumers and they continually invest to improve infrastructure and expand services.
Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
When 80% of ocean pollution comes from land Waste2Worth innovations are providing much needed locally targeted waste solutions.
Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Knowledge, expertise and best practice are being shared across borders through Global Compact. Through bottom-up and local practical partnerships, cross stakeholder collaboration is becoming a driving force for the 2030 Agenda.