The business sector plays a central role for the effective achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations for 2030, as the main driver of economic development. Companies around the world of all sizes and sectors are called upon to make an important contribution in the SDGs era through new responsible business models, investment, innovation, technology development and the activation of multi-stakeholder collaborations. The key to business is precisely innovation, or rather companies can and should search for a combination of innovation (in their products, services or processes) and sustainability, in order to develop new sustainable solutions which are in line with the SDGs, through innovative technologies.
"In order for business to contribute to sustainable development, corporate social responsibility has to consider respect for human rights as a fundamental element for achieving the SDGs. In addition, market incentives are solving the trade-off between competitiveness and sustainability.” affirmed Lise Kingo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact.
The private sector would effectively gain certain benefits by pursuing the sustainable development goals. For example, firms would be able to: identify new business opportunities; strengthen relationships with stakeholders; stabilize markets by promoting transparent and non-corrupt financial systems; and identify, manage and monitor risks.
Also according to Lise Kingo, there are three key elements to ensure an effective implementation of the SDGs. The first is leadership: to innovate business models integrating sustainability within core activities a strong commitment from the top management is needed. Secondly, collaboration with stakeholders plays a central role: companies must co-invest in innovative projects, so that through joint efforts they can gather resources, share risks and aim to devise scalable solutions together. The third key element is transparency, which is crucial in building confidence and strengthening relations with stakeholders.