Business and the Global Goals: a new era of sustainable development
Sep 23, 2015
Earlier this month, we held our annual CSR Awards and as part of the event, I spoke about a topic that is becoming of ever increasing importance for our economy, our businesses and our local communities. That topic is sustainability.
Ireland is now out of recession and once again we find ourselves as the fastest growing economy in Europe. The priority for government should be to ensure that our recovery is sustainable in the long-term, and that this economic growth supports social cohesion and stability.
Outside of Ireland, the international community also faces challenges in ensuring the sustainable and equitable development of communities and nations. The global population is set to rise to 9.5 billion by 2050, and this will raise a whole new range of environmental and social challenges as societies will face difficulties arising from increasingly scarce resources, the threat of climate change, and increased migration.
To help prepare for these challenges, the United Nations is set to launch new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 goals that UN member states will use to frame their policies over the next 15 years to promote peace, prosperity and environmental protection. The goals will be launched by 193 Heads of State, including Ireland, at a UN Summit later this week.
At a high level, the SDGs, or Global Goals, are focused on ending hunger and eradicating poverty. In practice, however, the goals take a holistic approach to tackling the root causes of poverty and inequality; with many of the defined goals being linked to our policy priorities here in Chambers Ireland. Goal 8, for example, supports decent work and economic growth; Goal 11 prioritises sustainable cities and communities; and Goal 12 encourages responsible consumption and production. Our global partner, the International Chamber of Commerce, has played a significant role, as the voice of business, in driving this agenda and will be working with the United Nations to develop and promote these new goals.
The engagement of the business community will be vital to the success of this new era of sustainable development, as the private sector will be required to foster sustainable development and growth across a broad range of areas- from project finance and encouraging foreign direct investment to supporting innovation and removing barriers to cross-border trading. If the new SDGs are to be successfully implemented, business and government will have to work together to integrate the sustainable development agenda into the broader economy. This will include public-private partnerships at global and national level and enhanced opportunities for engagement to better leverage business expertise and experience.
Chambers Ireland supports the International Chamber of Commerce and the UN in their efforts to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and we would encourage our members and partners to both support and participate in promoting the Global Goals this week.
You can do this by following us on Twitter- @chambersireland @ICC_Ireland @iccwbo or by visiting the ICC’s website here.