ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development – Business contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Based on existing positions and on content drawn from, inter alia, the Green Economy Roadmap and the Business Charter for Sustainable Development, this document aims to link ICC’s work to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to serve thereby as business input document into the “UN SDGs Summit”.

The Business Charter for Sustainable Development has been specifically designed to help companies contribute to the SDG implementation. Sustainable economic growth provides the foundation and resources for societies to develop and prosper, and for people to meet their needs and pursue their aspirations. It helps enable economic empowerment and poverty eradication, advance environmental stewardship; and contribute to dealing with the trans-boundary global challenges highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

At the heart of economic growth are innovative, successful, and responsible businesses operating within strong, forward-looking governance and policy frameworks.

Now more than ever, sustainable development depends on the solutions, capabilities, contributions and engagement of business. ICC believes this entails:

  • Innovation in all dimensions of sustainable development so as to develop more integrated strategies, policy and decision-making.
  • Leadership and collaboration to leverage the mutually-reinforcing and cross-cutting elements of integrated policy-making.
  • Integrated governance structures fostering greater policy coherence between economic, environmental and development objectives.
  • Efforts by all actors to reconcile short-term pressures with longer-term strategies to deal with the multiplicity of economic, societal, and environmental challenges and opportunities in an integrated manner.
  • Bottom up and top down actions pursued simultaneously by governments and business in support of sustainable growth. A one-size-fits-all approach will not be effective, nor will policies that work in silos.
  • Multilateral and cross-cutting approaches across countries and sectors, which are indispensable in the global marketplace.

ICC and sustainable development

ICC has played a long-standing role in promoting responsible business conduct and remains committed to providing through leadership to deliver sustainability solutions.

In 1991, only four years after the milestone Brundtland report ―Our Common Future, ICC launched its first Business Charter for Sustainable Development, voicing the first world business position on sustainable development. The Charter was subsequently updated in 2000 and 2015, with the latest version reflecting the new approach to sustainable development and its economic, societal, and environmental dimensions.

The 2015 Business Charter for Sustainable Development has been specifically designed to help companies contribute to the SDGs’ implementation. Based around eight guidelines, it sets out a strategic framework to help companies place sustainability at the heart of their operations; it calls on the widest range of enterprises to enhance their sustainability performance; it also calls for enhanced co-operation to support sustainable growth.

The Charter aims to:

  • Reflect the Rio+20 outcome text, ―The Future We Want which acknowledges that sustainable development depends on the active engagement of both the public and the private sectors.
  • Enable the global business community to contribute to the implementation of the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Build, inter alia, on ICC’s Green Economy Roadmap , a guide for business, policy makers and society towards a greener and more sustainable economy.
  • Work in harmony with existing practices, national and international guidelines, as well as standards on all aspects of sustainability.
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