Business set to scale up investment in SDGs

Corporate leaders meet to chart ways to increase investment towards achieving SDG 8 following launch of landmark report by Deloitte, USCIB and IOE that says progress is too slow.

A new study by Deloitte, the United States Council for International Business and the International Organisation of Employers shows that meeting SDG 8 will not happen without major inputs from the private sector.

The report entitled Reaching SDG8: Challenges, Opportunities and Risks provides detailed data analysis on current progress towards meeting the targets of this goal.

SDG 8 calls for promoting "sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all". According to some experts, the success of the entire SDG agenda depends to a large extent on achieving SDG 8.

The report sums up the present situation in this way: "The findings are discouraging, as the rate of global progress has, so far, not kept pace with the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. Very little success has been achieved on […] increasing employment opportunities, especially for the young workforce; reducing informal employment, labor market inequality, and gender discrimination; improving resource efficiency in consumption; promoting safe and secure working environments; and improving access to financial services."

To counter this trend, corporate leaders from top 500 companies as well as small business company executives are meeting in New York together with top UN officials, the heads of USCIB and IOE to map out the path to increase private sector investment in SDG 8 targets.

IOE President Erol Kiresepi provides his insight in a recent blog where he warns that "the global community has just over a decade to ratchet up action or run the risk of failing to achieve this ambitious development agenda with devastating consequences". He goes on to explain "to bridge the gap between the aspirational and actions on the ground, employer and business member organisations can play a pivotal role. Employer organisations worldwide have long and deep experience in translating development agendas into corporate strategies and frameworks."

In discussing the results of the report, Patricia Buckley, Managing Director for Economics at Deloitte US, highlighted "how little progress has been made on most of SDG 8 targets – targets which called for a variety of improvement ranging from increasing skills and reducing informal employment to improving resource efficiency and expanding access to financial services for all."

USCIB President Peter Robinson launched the discussions by pointing out that "there is an urgent need to develop new and inclusive partnership models that engage business and other non-state actors as equal partners with government. This model will embrace innovation, mobilize resources and expertise, and create shared accountability and value."