The SDGs explicitly acknowledge the
The SDGs explicitly acknowledge the interconnectedness of the prosperity of business, a flourishing society and the health of the environment. Few companies can thrive unless the countries in which they operate are thriving. And no country has significantly improved people’s lives without the driving force of a vibrant economy.
The greatest contribution a company can make as a development actor is to carry out its business, and do it responsibly, inclusively and sustainably. This in itself creates livelihoods and provides incomes; generates taxes; delivers essential products and services efficiently and affordably; accelerates technological innovation; creates a competitive, vibrant and resilient economy that can reduce reliance on imports; and brings in essential foreign currency.
Business becomes a partner in development, when it looks beyond immediate short-term financial gain and looks towards building longer-term business and societal value. Business does this in two main ways: by aligning its investments and core business activities, products and services in ways that contribute to a country’s development priorities; or by strategically investing resources of all kinds (technological innovation, in-kind contributions, funding etc.) towards the development of the social, economic (including infrastructure) and environmental fabric in which it operates. In both cases, the clearer the commercial interest, the greater the value of the investments companies can make.
To maximize the joint creation of business and societal value, government, business, civil society and all need to step up. Government must do everything in its power to encourage and support responsible, inclusive and sustainable business: to lead by example with its own state-owned enterprises; to publically recognize leading companies; to build the right enabling entrepreneurial, business and responsible investment environment; to understand and include business needs when setting country development priorities to increase competitiveness; and wherever necessary to use its regulatory and taxation powers to prevent irresponsible or unsustainable business practices and ensure competitive behaviour.
This plenary session will highlight the essential role of business in the achievement of the SDGs and provide inspiration and practical guidance for how governments and development partners can support responsible, inclusive and sustainable business. It seeks:
- To build understanding of the role of responsible, inclusive and sustainable business as an essential driver of sustainable development, including eradicating poverty and reducing inequality (Effectiveness principle 2: Focus on Results);
- To showcase and generate ideas and guidance on the active steps governments and development partners can take in-country to most effectively support the development of responsible, inclusive and sustainable business; and
- To generate commitment towards re-engineering the business / government / civil society relationship around their mutual interest to drive forward equitable, sustainable development (Effectiveness principle 3: Inclusive development partnership).
effective development co-operation.