In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a new global framework of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030.
The SDGs will carry on the momentum generated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but with one fundamental difference: the principle of universality that underpins the framework. This means all countries are expected to implement the goals domestically, as well as work together to achieve the ambition of the SDGs globally.
The SDGs require a holistic approach involving actors from all sectors. Governments need to look to society, and business in particular, for help to achieve them. The private sector has an important role to play in implementing the SDGs, as complex challenges require integrated responses that involve knowledge and resources from all stakeholders.
Many business leaders are confident that, far from being a burden, the SDGs have the potential to drive successful new strategies, innovations and investments.
The Business and Sustainable Development Commission, launched in Davos in January 2016, aims to map the economic prize that could be available to business if the UN SDGs are achieved. In its flagship report, Better Business, Better World, the Commission describes how business can contribute to delivering these goals.