As the world prepares to mark the first year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in January 2017, a United Nations-backed global fund has highlighted the different perspectives from both large and small companies on the harmony of the new sustainable development agenda.
In its new report, Universality and the SDGs: A Business Perspective, the Sustainable Development Goal Fund (SDG Fund) underscored the importance of universality as a potential driver to impact engagement with the private sector.
“Universality in this context is […] applicable to all countries, while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development that respect national policies and principles,” said the SDG Fund in a news release issued today.
In the report, the SDG Fund also found that while many firms are working in the areas of SDGs, their work is not always linked to the Goals or articulated as such.
Against this backdrop, the report also noted the role of the UN. For instance, it said, that the global Organization can help in educating and informing companies on the universal dimensions of the SDGs, as well as in facilitating access to the resources, tools and learning to better promote implementation and alignment across sectors.
In its report, the SDG Fund also cited issues that companies face when engaging on topics associated with SDGs, such as not being able to fully understand the complexity and depth of the SDGs in context of their operations.
The report further noted that for most firms, while philanthropic and corporate social responsibility initiatives remained “customary,” framing sustainability initiatives through the SDGs offered great benefits, given that they provide a clear and unified set of globally-accepted goals and related targets.
It also recognized the importance of developing partnerships between the private sector and development actors, such as the UN, in order to leverage complementary expertise.
The report also includes case studies with the SDG Fund’s Private Sector Advisory Group, highlighting the importance of the implementation of SDGs, initiating multi-stakeholder collaboration and efforts to leverage the complementary expertise of new actors.
The Sustainable Development Goals Fund is an international multi-donor and multi-agency development mechanism created in 2014 by the UN Development Program (UNDP), on behalf of the UN system, to support sustainable development activities through integrated and multidimensional joint programmes.