The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stems from the success of the Millennium Development Goals. These last objectives were an effort by the UN to generate clear, measurable and quantifiable goals for the good of humanity; It was a list of good wishes for which governments around the world committed to work between the year 2000 and 2015. Having seen the impressive results they had, the UN member states were the ones who organized themselves to establish new and more ambitious objectives, that’s how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or the 2030 Agenda were born.
This agenda consists of 17 SDGs whose goals are: ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change without anyone falling behind by 2030. For this to be possible, it is necessary to cover economic, social and environmental spheres; and, therefore, involves the participation of all sectors of society and the State for its proper implementation. That is, joint efforts by government representatives, civil society, academia and the private sector are necessary.
What is the role that the business sector should play in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda? An essential part of development is investment and innovation. These are the great drivers of productivity, economic growth and job creation. It must be considered, however, that consumers are becoming more responsible and committed to the environment and society. Thus, it is not only a responsibility of the private sector to get involved in compliance with the SDGs, but they represent a business opportunity. That is, it is profitable to integrate the SDGs into the business plans of the companies.
According to the Better Business report, Better World, the SDGs represent business opportunities worth 12 trillion dollars in four sectors and have the potential to create 380 million jobs. It is worth noting that 50% of these business opportunities could be created in countries with developing economies.
Among the actions that the private sector can adopt to incorporate the SDGs into their companies are: generate diversity and inclusion programs, collaborate with entrepreneurs, provide social security and occupational health, take appropriate measures of safety and hygiene, invest in innovation and research, reduce environmental impact, incorporate training programs for women, boost the local economy and culture, provide decent working conditions, gradually reduce the use of fossil fuels, invest in sustainable technologies, avoid polluting oceans and seas, contribute to conservation and restoration projects of biodiversity. All this translates into the alignment of the SDGs with social responsibility strategies. In other words, currently, a socially responsible company is one that has incorporated the SDGs into its business strategies and plans.
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