sábado, 10 de outubro de 2015


Make it your business: Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals

Foreword 2015 is a momentous year for change. It could be a pivotal year in human history turning the tide on the major social, economic and environmental issues of our times. With the ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the way we do business has the potential to fundamentally shift. A new demand for assessment and accountability could drive real change across the business community, with a sense check against the impact on society. Driven by the UN, the SDGs are a set of global goals that governments are expected to adopt. When they sign up to them, they will look to society, and business in particular, for help to achieve them. It will herald a major change for business. Governments will want to measure and monitor progress and manage the effectiveness of their interventions. In turn, business will need to assess its impact on the SDGs and review its strategy accordingly. It will need to collect, assure and report new data, evolving its reporting too. It would seem sensible that a CEO will want to know if their business operations (across its value chain) support or detract from the government’s goals. This just seems to be commonsense if a CEO wants to be on the receiving end of ‘fair’ regulation and a welcoming licence to operate. It’s not about business implementing the SDGs - it’s about business having a strategy that, at the national level, is goalcongruent with government ambition. Equally, there is real opportunity here. The SDGs put a spotlight on some of the world’s biggest issues and our ability to shape our impact on them, for good or bad. To my mind, this represents a catalyst for innovation and new market opportunities for the savvy CEO to embrace and drive growth. So how can government get the best from business? There is no clear request for support as yet, it is early days. But when it comes, it needs to be pitched to business in a way that resonates and can be easily interpreted and incorporated into normal business operations. No NGO speak or political rhetoric, but practical guidance on how to engage and the business benefits of doing so. After all, the investment involved for business should not be underestimated. Determining requirements, accessing the right skills and developing the right tools, will be top priorities to understand and deliver impact assessment, goal setting, strategy development, operational change and reporting in this new world. Business will also need to rethink its strategy and change behaviours to evidence its contribution and, hopefully, be seen to contribute positively to the government’s goals. 


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