The business community is 100 percent on board with United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and wants to contribute meaningfully, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson told the OECD Forum today, but companies need a stable and predictable policy environment in which to operate.
Held in Paris every year to coincide with the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, the theme of which this year is “Enhancing Productivity for Inclusive Growth,” the OECD Forum has emerged as a major international conference. Leaders from all sectors of society, including former and current heads of state, CEOs, leaders of key NGOs and trade unions and prominent members of academia and media, gather to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society.
Robinson participated in a panel on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and spoke about the private sector’s contributions to the global community’s objectives (full program here). The SDG agenda encompasses a wide array of inter-related economic, social and environmental issues. Governments – as well as non-governmental stakeholders – will need to adapt to new challenges and overcome intellectual and institutional silos. The business community, including USCIB, has helped to spearhead the private sector’s input to the development of the SDGs, and is working hard to mobilize and demonstrate business support around specific objectives.
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“We have constructed a sophisticated platform, Business for 2030 for companies to learn how to support specific aspects of the Global Goals, and for policy makers and the development community to learn more about company projects and business initiatives in support of the SDGs,” Robinson told the audience.
A catalog of business engagement that showcases the private sector’s contributions to the SDGs, Business for 2030 features over 140 initiatives from 35 companies in over 150 countries of how businesses are helping to achieve 72 of the 169 SDG targets. The website highlights concrete initiatives and public-private partnerships to inspire renewed trust in the private sector, and to catalyze sustained and active business engagement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Robinson also talked about the importance of adopting the right policy frameworks that make badly-needed investments in the developing world less risky. He said the policy tools and instruments of different international organizations, including those of the OECD, should be promoted among all countries, including the OECD’s Policy Framework for Investment (PFI) – a key checklist for policies that will encourage investment and growth in countries.
“Globally, official development assistance is dwarfed by foreign direct investment,” Robinson said. “We need to provide incentives for investment to flow where it can do the most good.”
Other speakers on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Panel included Martine Durand (OECD), Michael Elliott (ONE), Aart de Geus (Bertelsmann Stiftung), Alenka Smerkloji (Minister for Development, Slovenia), Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Save the Children International) and Peter Turkson (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace).
The OECD Forum runs from May 31 to June 1 in Paris. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD. More information on the forum is available at the OECD’s website.
Read more: “10 Business Recommendations for Productivity, Prosperity and Inclusive Growth,” BIAC Statement to the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting 2016