By Lionel Alva
What could a world with more sustainable businesses look like?
According to UN projections, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may produce USD 12 trillion in global economic value and 380 million new employment opportunities by 2030. At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, India, together with other nations, signed a statement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the UN projections have impelled investments in SDGs by businesses, are developing countries lagging behind?
Since the Asia-Pacific region was at the centre stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift towards sustainability is more apparent in countries like India. In a largely phygital landscape, consumers tend to favour brands that depict strong core values towards sustainability. This is why the business mandate for sustainability has become stronger than it ever was.
The Economic Times SDGs Summit offered a glimpse into the corporate community’s think-tank that is shaping the business blueprint keeping SDGs in focus. Since SDGs have very concrete targets that can be quantified, and governments alone cannot set the mandate for change. Coercive action is required to be taken by businesses across the world. EY joined this initiative as the Principal knowledge advisor, Co-Powered by Skoda Volkswagen, with IBM, Capgemini, Bayer Crop Sciences, SAP Labs India, Welspun, Hero Electric Vehicles, AB InBev, Quess Corp, Corteva Agriscience, MG Motors, and Pearson Futurescape as knowledge partners.
The recently launched ‘The ET and Futurescape 8th Sustainability Index: ESG Report’ is expected to further consolidate India’s SDG agenda. Some pertinent topics that were discussed during the event were:
- Leaders Discussion: Strategy, Sustainability and Sense makers – Sustainable value creation: How ESG has moved from a cost center to a value driver
- Leadership Matters: How the C-Suite is seizing the ESG Opportunity
- Building Back Better for All: Anchoring the 2030 Agenda in national development plans and strategies
- Sustaining Momentum: Role of EV- Ecosystem development for faster adoption leading to sustainability
- From the Agri Expert Lenses: Bold actions for food as a force for good
- In Conversation: Leading the energy transition: Decarbonized, Decentralized and Digitized
Apart from these, there were also many other topics of pertinence. The event also included a book launch for “SHIFT – Decisions for a NetZero world the clock is ticking in more ways than one!”
The fact of the matter is that the corporate community and not the government will ensure the success of SDGs. Fulfilling SDGs will enable the Indian corporate community to have a sustainable edge in the global business arena. Businesses today can leverage SDGs to help resolve some of the greatest challenges that the world is facing.