Business and SDGs: Raising the Level of Ambition

In Realising the Transformative Potential of the SDGs
Chapter: Chapter 5
Book Chapter

* Agenda 2030 calls upon “all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges”; * If a major part of total global annual investments by businesses was directed towards the SDGs, then their achievement would not be in question; * Most efforts to promote business involvement in the SDGs have relied on voluntary approaches rather than regulation; * Given the profit incentive of most companies and the easy option of cherry picking a few SDGs that align with their business model, reliance on voluntary approaches is unlikely to be transformative; * Only a few companies have systematically examined their contribution to the SDGs or the implications of the SDGs for their business operations; * For submission of voluntary national reviews, comprehensive reporting on local company contributions to the SDGs should form a significant portion of national reporting. Also, companies should use corporate sustainability reporting to demonstrate their willingness to adopt the SDGs; * Governments can create winners and losers through regulation, providing incentives and disincentives to motivate companies to focus on the SDGs and turn away from unsustainable activities; and * In the long run, if companies do not adopt a more transformative approach, then their current business model could be at risk, and the SDGs will not be achieved.

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