How to Capitalize on the Business Opportunities created by the Global Goals
Next steps from the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (The Commission)
The Commission sees sustainable development as “the greatest economic opportunity of a lifetime”. Its newly released, flagship report, Better Business, Better World, “maps the economic prize for companies that align with the Global Goals, and shows how to achieve them.”
The headline is persuasive: sustainable business models could open economic opportunities worth up to US$12 trillion and increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030.
But how? The report identifies six steps for forward-thinking companies must take to become first-movers in the business opportunities made possible by pursuing the Global Goals. While not easily accomplished, these steps give business leaders direction on moving forward. Collaboration is key.
- Build support for the Global Goals as the right growth strategy in your companies and across the business community.
- Incorporate the Global Goals into company strategy. That means applying a Global Goals lens to every aspect of strategy: appointing board members and senior executives to prioritize and drive execution; aiming strategic planning and innovation at sustainable solutions; marketing products and services that inspire consumers to make sustainable choices; and using the goals to guide leadership development, women’s empowerment at every level, regulatory policy and capital allocation.
- Drive the transformation to sustainable markets with sector peers. Forward-looking business leaders are working with sector peers and stakeholders to map their collective route to a sustainable competitive playing field, identifying tipping points, prioritizing the key technology and policy levers, developing new skill profiles and jobs, quantifying new financing requirements, and laying out the elements of a just transition.
- Work with policy-makers to pay the true cost of natural and human resources. Businesses that choose to pay living wages and the full cost of their resources need to be certain that their competitors will do the same in the not too distant future if they are not to be at a cost disadvantage. Business leaders must therefore work openly with regulators, business and civil society to shape fiscal and regulatory policies that create a level playing field more in line with the Global Goals.
- Push for a financial system oriented towards longer-term sustainable investment. Achieving full prices across the economy will take time. Until then — and to help bring that day closer — business leaders can strengthen the flow of capital into sustainable investments by pushing for three things: transparent, consistent league tables of sustainability performance linked to the Global Goals; wider and more efficient use of blended finance instruments to share risk and attract much more private finance into sustainable infrastructure; and alignment of regulatory reforms in the financial sector with long-term sustainable investment.
- Rebuild the Social Contract by paying their taxes transparently like everyone else and to contributing positively to the communities in which they operate.
Find out more by reading the executive summary or the entire report.