The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the outcome of the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) held in December 2015 are likely to drive the world’s development agenda for decades to come. Businesses will undoubtedly play an essential role in implementing these goals and agreements, especially as it relates to partnerships, innovation and investment.
Public-private sector alliances will be key to achieve the new SDGs and to dramatically scale up climate solutions. Whether it is constructing resilient infrastructure for the 21st century that can withstand the effects of climate change, or expanding health services to millions of underserved communities globally, businesses will be called upon to help accelerate poverty reduction and build a more sustainable world. This provides a unique opportunity for businesses to expand services and tap into new markets, but perhaps more importantly it provides a roadmap for achieving shared value for businesses and served communities.
If the international community is going to have any chance at meeting the SDGs or implementing a new universal climate agreement, it will need tap into the ability of entrepreneurs – and the business community at large – to be creative, disruptive and innovative. Large-scale transformation will be necessary to get closer to a highly resilient, low-carbon economy that promotes growth and prosperity for all. Luckily, the world has never had better know-how and solutions to avert crisis and create opportunities for a better life for people all over the world. From renewables to organic agriculture, solutions span every sector of the global economy
Investors are becoming increasingly aware that climate change will affect returns on investment by potentially stranding assets or affecting companies that have not made their supply chains resilient to climate impacts. This means that businesses are facing tremendous challenges, but at the same time have a unique opportunity for internal transformation. Not just of operational issues, but of their long-term corporate strategy to match the challenge of implementing the SDGs and addressing the effects of climate change.
This year marks a defining moment in the global quest for a sustainable future for 7 billion people, rising to over 9 billion by 2050. The SDGs and the Paris climate change agreement offer no quick fixes, but businesses can and must play an important role in helping them succeed.
This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s sustainability report A Chance for Change: The Tipping Point for Sustainable Business. For more insights, check out MSLGROUP’s #BetheChance community and follow @BetheChance.
Luis is a sustainability and stakeholder engagement executive with 12+ years of experience. He has a strong track record of launching and implementing sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and partnerships. Davila has been a policy advisor to senior government, corporate, philanthropic and non-governmental (NGO) leaders related to climate change and broader sustainability issues. Connect with him on Twitter @davidlalu