Apr 27, 2017

Sustainable Development Goals Offer $1 Trillion Market Opportunities To Private Sector In India


This article originally appeared in BusinessWorld. You can read the report here

The United Nations Global Compact on Wednesday (April 26) kicked off its two-day event, bringing together over 300 leaders from business, finance, civil society, government and the UN in New Delhi for its regional flagship event Making Global Goals Local Business - India.

With less than 5,000 days left to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the event aims to mobilise collective and responsible business actions, drive breakthrough innovations, create new market opportunities and accelerate action and dialogue on advancing the global goals. 

The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 9,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 170 countries, and more than 70 local networks.

“The SDGs provide a global plan of action for people, planet and prosperity – a plan of action with a universal set of goals and targets that empowers us all to deliver the world that we want,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

“Every year, as part of our Making Global Goals Local Business movement, we host a flagship regional event. This year, we are in New Delhi because India is the land of opportunity for sustainable development: If India delivers on the Global Goals we will be halfway towards the 2030 Agenda.” 

"A recent CEO survey showed that 87 per cent of business leaders believe that the SDGs provide an opportunity to drive sustainable value creation, 70 per cent see the SDGs as providing a new business framework and 85 per cent see partnerships as essential to achieving the SDGs," said Gavin Power, Deputy Executive Director at United Nations Global Compact.

“We urgently need companies everywhere to invent, develop and launch countless new ideas to achieve the global goals, Kingo told reporters. 

She further added that 50 per cent of the delivering of the global goals will come from progress made in India, with its thriving economy and strong leadership for business, government and civil society. India is prepared to turn awareness on global goals into complete action. The agenda for our event has been designed to inspire participants to take action. We will focus on opportunities to innovate and create new market opportunities that advance the global goals. 

To enable business around the world to take action on the SDGs, the UN Global Compact launched two important initiatives on the first day of the event. The new Global Opportunity Explorer aims to be the world's largest digital platform connects business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors with new partners, projects, markets and talents to deliver on the SDGs. Through a new Blueprint for SDG Leadership, the UN Global Compact will guide businesses on how to take concrete leadership action on each of the SDGs.

"The SDGs open up at least $1 trillion of market opportunities for the private sector in India. This is out of a total global value of $12 trillion which can be unlocked by sustainable business models in 4 keys areas- food & agriculture, cities, energy and in health. Over 72 million jobs could be created in India by 2030, one market hotspot alone, the low income food market could create around 11 million of these jobs,” said Kingo.

In the opening plenary, Union Minister of State for Finance, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, said, "I congratulate the UN Global Compact for organizing this dedicated programme on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in India." 

He continued, "The Indian government has taken bold initiatives in the last three years so as to translate our commitment to SGDs, and our visionary leader Narendra Modi is working tirelessly to achieve SDGs by 2030 in a big way....Making Global Goals Local Business is a strategy to engage business on the 2030 SDG agenda to develop innovative business models and help achieve the SDGs."

Kamal Singh, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network India said, "We are extremely honored to bring a global platform to India to showcase local businesses and innovations around SDGs. With the launch of this 2-day event, we have set a mission of providing a blueprint for forward-thinking. This gives Indian businesses an opportunity to succeed in implementing Global Goals and innovate the SDGs in the local context."

“In September 2015, the whole world came together to define a vision of development that is truly inspiring. The vision, according to the document which all the countries were a signatory of, is supremely ambitious, transformative and it’s integrated and indivisible. And it came up with this ambitious vision of what it wants the world to look like in 2030. The major changes from the MDGs (which were from 2000 to 2015) were on Gender Equality, Inequality (which has been on the rise, when you see the concentration of wealth where 8 men hold as much of wealth as the bottom 3.6 billion), the goal on bringing the climate and development agenda together, and Goal 17 which is on partnerships”. She added that that “it is really about sustainable inclusive supply chains of businesses and involvement of the private sector, collaboratively working with civil society and the government. The 4 goals I mentioned, if these can be achieved, then we can really see a transformed society by 2030," said Oxfam India chief executive Nisha Agrawal.

On Thursday (April 27), the second day of the conference, the UN Global Compact will outline the breakthrough innovation and systemic solutions needed to meet the Global Goals by 2030 and will launch the 2017 series of the “Global Compact SDG Pioneers” campaign at the closing plenary. Additionally, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission will release its Better Business Better World - India country report highlighting how the SDGs offer a compelling growth strategy for the private sector in India.

Other speakers at the event included Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro, Namita Vikas, Group President & Global Head, Climate Strategy & Responsilbe Banking, Yes Bank Ltd, Farzana Chowdhury, CEO & Managing Director, Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, Tanya Accone Senior Advisor, UNICEF Global Innovation Centre, Amitabh Kant Chief Executive Officer, National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), Ravi Puranik, Chief Executive Officer, Hindustan Unilever Foundation, Vineet Rai, Founder & Chairman, Aavishkaar – Intellecap Group, Dinesh K. Sarraf, President, Global Compact Network India.


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