BusinessGreen launches SDG Hub

BusinessGreen staff
clock • 4 min read

Supported by BNP Paribas, the new BusinessGreen SDG Hub will provide in-depth analysis into how the Sustainable Development Goals are shaping long term corporate strategies

BusinessGreen has today launched a major new editorial project to explore the wide ranging business implications of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the way in which companies are responding to the global "roadmap" they provide.

Supported by BNP Paribas, the new BusinessGreen SDG Hub will provide business leaders, investors, and sustainability executives with a unique, free to air resource, offering in-depth analysis on each of the SDGs and their likely impacts on the business community.

Launched today to coincide with the third anniversary of the SDGs being formally adopted by the UN, the hub will run for 18 months. The first month will explore how businesses are responding to the SDGs and using them to shape corporate strategies, before BusinessGreen then dedicates a month of coverage to each of the 17 goals and their impact on business and investment trends.

"The SDGs are a critical blueprint for how the global economy will evolve through to 2030, covering everything from climate action and biodiversity protection to equal rights and green infrastructure," said BusinessGreen editor-in-chief James Murray. "They will impact every corner of the business community, and yet many business leaders remain unclear about how best to respond to both the goals themselves, and the exciting new markets and hugely disruptive trends they signal. The BusinessGreen SDG Hub aims to help executives and investors navigate the SDGs and support their ambition of genuinely sustainable development wherever possible."

The hub is supported by global banking giant BNP Paribas, which has pioneered a range of strategies for mobilising capital in support of the SDGs. 

Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK country head at BNP Paribas, said the bank was "committed and focused on understanding how we can actively contribute to and support our clients with the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals". 

"This unique and important partnership with BusinessGreen will provide a channel for us to collectively dive deeper into the subsections of these goals, to share best practices towards reaching them, and to critically identify constructive and impactful ways forward for private sector engagement," she added.

The SDGs feature 17 goals and 169 specific targets, the vast majority of which have either direct or indirect implications for businesses. The goals are hugely ambitious, including targets to effectively eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, ensure global food security, and put the world firmly on track to averting dangerous climate change. 

Writing exclusively for BusinessGreen to mark the launch of the SDG Hub, Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, argued there was an urgent need for businesses and governments to work together in pursuit of the SDGs.

"When the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted three years ago, the United Nations made it clear to the world: We mean business," he said. "The time for private sector entities to lean back and watch as national governments and international organizations worked to implement ambitious development targets is long behind us. We are raising the bar of what is expected of the private sector on the road to a sustainable future."

He also argued there was a compelling commercial case for embracing the SDGs. "It is estimated that the successful implementation of these goals could unlock $12tr in opportunities for business by 2030," he wrote. "With the help of the agenda and roadmap set out by the United Nations and its member states, businesses can position themselves right in the middle of emerging markets, offering real solutions for real problems. Stepping up with a strategy for our common future, without compromising on their bottom line. And staying one step ahead of policy changes and new environmental rules that are likely to be implemented as governments seek to align their economies with these development goals."

The BusinessGreen SDG Hub will aim to explore the full range of business benefits and challenges that come with the SDGs and provide executives with a clear and concise guide for developing effective strategies that can unlock the opportunities presented by sustainable development.

They will also seek to tap into growing interest from business executives around the world. A report last week from the Business for Social Responsibility initiative polled over 150 global firms and found the proportion of companies that are using or intending to use the SDGs to set corporate targets has risen sharply from just over 50 per cent last year to over 70 per cent in 2018.

"Alongside the Paris Agreement, the SDGs are the clearest signal businesses and investors are going to get about the future direction of global trends, covering everything from the regulatory environment and political landscape to consumer trends and technology transitions," said Murray. "They present a minefield of stranded asset risks as well as multi-trillion dollar commercial opportunities. Savvy business leaders need to keep themselves fully informed about how the SDGs could impact their organisation and how they can contribute to building a more effective global economy. After all, there unsustainable development is, ultimately, unsustainable."

The SDG Hub will get underway this week with a major investigation into the history and reach of the SDGs, as well as the launch of a new series providing an at a glance look at the business implications of each goal.

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