Last week the 2018 Responsible Business Forum convened in Singapore with many committed business leaders, key policy makers, and members of civil society, the media and the United Nations family coming together to develop partnerships to tackle persistent challenges in sustainable development and shape a better world by 2030.
The SDGs present significant opportunities for the private sector to open up new market opportunities and engage new private investments in sustainable development by effectively using companies’ core competencies, expertise and resources. It is now widely accepted that the private sector has a crucial role to play in achieving the SDGs. The question is no longer whether companies should apply the SDGs, but how they should do so according to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Steiner made a call to action to the private sector in his keynote speech at RBF Singapore. Citing the IPCC report released earlier this week, he urged the gathering of nearly 700 participants to work to make a difference. Indicating that science shows we are on a perilous path, Steiner said: “the imperative to change especially for business is ever more clear with global warming a serious and imminent threat.
“Don’t be spectators, you are the central players in seizing the opportunity to shape our future world, and make markets the solution not the problem,” he said. Important issues such as plastics in the ocean, the increase in loss of biodiversity, improvement of supply chains and feeding the world’s growing population by 2030, are very real problems that we are facing. Emphasizing that climate change has moved “from science fiction to being reality,” he said it was encouraging to see how the energy revolution is fast gaining pace, with an explosion of renewable sources of energy that are fundamentally changing the environmental sector.
If the private sector starts integrating nature in its business approach and its impact on the natural environment, others will follow suit. To move the conservation agenda forward, the business case must be backed by science and understood by all stakeholders.
He encouraged business leaders “to be bold and take it personally” and to use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to come together to address issues. He cited UNDP as a committed partner working together with a range of stakeholders to help shape the future. With the world’s population estimated to be 10 billion by 2050, Steiner’s message was simple and clear: “we will only thrive if we collaborate and cooperate.” Check out the full speech at here.