7 steps to make your business and community better
2016 is a momentous year for change worldwide. It can be pivotal year for all of us in Papua New Guinea to turn the tide and act on the major social, economic and environmental issues we face.
As leaders in business, how could you best contribute to positive social impact and help Papua New Guinea to achieve development?
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the Governments worldwide in 2015 can be a starting point.
The SDGs are a list of 17 goals and 169 targets focused on ending all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, tackle climate change and ensure that no one is left behind.
Businesses around the world are already starting to focus on the SDGs that are most relevant to their businesses goals and embedding them in their operations. And they are finding it to be commercially beneficial.
Michelin (tyre company) has created an innovative business model to recycle tyres — which allowed the company create additional revenues and facilitate better resource use. (SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production)
SAB Miller (brewery company) in South Africa engaged with local communities through a ‘beyond the breweries’ approach that helped the company to reduce its water usage by 23 billion litres over a few years. (SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation)
TNT (courier delivery service company) is partnering with the UN in Pakistan and other countries to help reduce hunger through transport, logistics and warehousing support after earthquakes. (SDG 2: Zero Hunger)
So as a business leader, where might you begin?
1. Start local
Consider the core issues that face your community. As an example, for many important industries in Papua New Guinea there is a lack of a trained and skilled indigenous workforce. This prevents many citizens from accessing the job market and increases the costs of human resources for companies. More Papua New Guineans clearly need to be trained and more knowledge transferred from international companies operating in the country, to local communities and workers, so that they can find employment opportunities.
2. Select the SDGs that address the issue
Carrying the labor example forward, SDG 4 — Quality Education — is applicable to this issue because it sets out to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Additionally, target 4.4 within SDG 4 provides a useful objective on which to structure a plan: “By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.”
3. Determine how your business can influence the issue directly
One way to respond to this would be to set up training centres, in and outside urban centres that will equip students, youth and others with specialized skills. This can be done through private and public sector collaboration, working together with vocational centres and other educational programmes.
4. Involve your team in planning and execution
Determine who in your company and/or in your industry can help you achieve your goal. Bring those individuals together to help formulate a sustainable strategy to deliver more effective results. Consider that you will probably be the first one to do this — which will give you an advantage and benefit your business reputation. Also think how to tap into existing models and arrangements to save costs of production and marketing.
5. Find your partners and Go
Get the word out to relevant stakeholders, including the Government, international organizations, civil society groups and others. Perhaps this will involve hosting an event in order to engage with key stakeholders. Contact partners in the UN — they can help you with expertise, contacts, and strategies.
6. Assess impact and progress regularly
As with any business development endeavour, evaluate your progress, learn from mistakes and tweak your approach as needed. The pressure on companies worldwide to operate sustainably will only increase, making the business case for using the SDGs to build commercial models that align with international development targets can be more persuasive, so make sure you continue to assess and adapt accordingly.
7. Celebrate your success!
If you managed to progress — celebrate it! Make it public, inform your clients, employees, community, peers in the industry. Celebrate together with them. Make it a business case and show your wins. Inspire others for change. And be proud of yourself and your team — you are now officially a ‘champion’.
As the United Nations Development Programme, we stand ready to support you and your business in this journey.
Contact us for collaboration and partnership ideas.
Web Site: www.pg.undp.org