Businesses must make greater effort to engage with UN Sustainable Development Goals, says Oxfam

Author: Namit Agarwal, Uwe Gneiting & Ruth Mhlanga, Oxfam, Published on: 13 February 2017

"Raising the bar: Rethinking the role of business in the Sustainable Development Goals", 13 Feb 2017

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gives business a significant role to play in efforts to achieve the SDGs, based on its ability to invest and innovate.  However, for companies to truly contribute, they must move beyond current forms of engagement, abandon a narrow focus on the SDGs as an opportunity to increase corporate profits and embrace their wider responsibilities to the societies in which they operate...This paper argues that meaningful engagement by business with the SDGs consists of three steps.  First, companies should focus on those areas or goals where their business has the greatest potential impact, either positive or negative...Second, meaningful engagement by companies requires going beyond cherry-picking SDGs based on winwin opportunities, and instead integrating sustainable development concerns into their core operations...Third...[t]he social, political and ecological crises we are facing require businesses to collectively challenge some of the economic paradigms that have ruled their behaviour for the past few decades and address the structural barriers that prevent more sustainable businesses from flourishing...The paper ends with suggested steps for businesses to start making a more meaningful contribution to delivering the SDGs, in the hope of encouraging new thinking and new action...[Refers to Behind the Brands campaign, concerns over whether Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé adequately manage gender impacts in cocoa supply chains]

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Related companies: Mars Mondelēz International Nestlé