Launched in September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals are the new KPIs for the planet to 2030, and they position business as a vital partner to achieving sustainable development.
The Global Goals presents Irish business with a new framework that will inform the design, delivery and communication of their sustainable and responsible business practices. Irish business needs to have articulated position on the Global Goals as stakeholders (be they government, customers, employees, civil society) will increasingly demand it.
Ireland played a notable role in their design, with David Donoghue, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN together with Kenya, acting as key negotiators.
As the network for responsible business, we will actively work with our members and key stakeholders to define what they mean for Irish business, and support business to take a progressive and leading role in an Irish context. Our work with Strategist and Leader members will support strategic alignment to relevant Global Goals, and our Engage members, including those active in our Business Action on Education and Employment initiatives, will focus on addressing some key societal agendas such as youth employment, educational attainment and social inclusion.
Over time a competitive advantage will be gained by the companies that understand the opportunities and challenges presented by the Global.
For more information please see the SDG Business Hub of our Global Partner, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The business case for the Goals is underpinned by some fundamental principles and it is useful to reflect on these in order to appreciate what the Goals present business.
The Global Goals are a complex matrix of 17 goals and 169 indicators, and there is ready scope to take a cynical view on what impact they can have. They are broad aspirations which belong to many stakeholders, and the UN leadership is based on voluntary engagement.
However it can equally be contended that the Global Goals offer a new and vital opportunity for positive economic, social and environmental change. It is clear that this opportunity will only be realised if relevant actors show leadership and engage with the framework presented by the Goals. From an Irish perspective, business leadership on the Goals will differentiate Irish companies as progressive and innovative in sustainable and responsible business practice.
Business leadership is emerging internationally on the Goals, and many discussions are taking place within countries and within various sectors. Businesses such as BT, Phillips, IKEA are talking about how they link to and impact on the various goals; compensative analysis is being done by KPMG, EY and PWC.
At a collective level, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission is investigating how the private sector can realise significant long-term economic rewards and help to achieve the Goals. We are engaged in this dialogue through our status as WBCSD Global Partner.
Our vision is to make all companies in Ireland sustainable and responsible and we look forward to aligning the Sustainable Development Goals with our vision so we can work with our members on transformational change.