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Sustainable Development Goals and Business

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a new blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. The SGDs are a global UN driven process, but all member States are called to develop ambitious national responses and contribute to the overall implementation of the Goals. Although fundamentally it will be the responsibility of governments to implement SDGs at the national level, it would be impossible to achieve the Goals without meaningful contribution by business. The private sector has a key role to play as a generator of employment, economic growth and a source of technology, innovation and finance. Equally, there is real opportunity here. Even if SDGs are not legally binding, they still act as an important road map regarding future policy direction at international and national level. This potentially represents a big catalyst for innovation and new market opportunities for the private sector to embrace and drive economic and social growth. For countries with rigid labour market policies, SDGs can be an opportunity for advocating for a better business environment. In addition, businesses that align themselves with the Goals and are able to communicate effectively on how they contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, are likely to consolidate a strong license to operate and to differentiate themselves from competitors. Lastly, investing in the implementation of the SDGs supports stable and peaceful societies and markets – in the absence of which business cannot succeed.