Doubters of UN’s 2030 SDGs desist: The powerful international private sector — with NGO partners — is now firmly in pursuit of the goals. It was demonstrated time and again at yesterday’s New York full-day working meeting of some 150 sustainable development leaders at an event produced by Global Compact Network USA.
Dr. David Nabarro, a key player in the recent successful Global Ebola Response, provided the spot-on keynote sentiment: The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are, indeed, a serious proposition, “the obligatory global plan for the future.” And he noted, not incidentally, that progress must integrate “a feminist agenda”.
Business participants from companies such as host Pfizer as well as Cigna, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Nestle Waters North America, DuPont and Hilton Worldwide repeatedly made the overriding business case for the SDGs and the companies’ respective iterations and commitments.
These are companies — and people — who do not waste time and resources. Their reports on progress and challenges (one suggested transparency even on failures) were mainly “in-the-trenches” reports on critical issues such as global water resources, healthcare and food security. Specific goals, metrics “KPIs” and marketing (communications) filled the air.
Significantly, an impressive array of NGO representatives — from partnering and prospective-partnering organizations — contributed valuable insights throughout the sessions. The sustainable development (aka corporate social responsibility) community has come a long way from earlier decades when business and “advocates” were mainly at odds.
Too, realism permeated. Participants recognized the enormity of emerging global demographic, sociological and, yes, environmental, challenges. All the more reason for the prevailing sense or urgency throughout the sessions.