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Change of date alert! Global Business Forum on the SDGs in Madrid now on 1-2 October 2018

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Invitation to the Global Business Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, Madrid, 8-9 October 2018

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5th Annual IOE Forum during the ILC: Building a Workforce for the Future - final programme and speaker bios now available!

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Register now for the 5th Annual IOE Forum during the ILC: Building a Workforce for the Future with Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

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Upcoming meetings



High Level Political Forum & Business side event on the SDGs (HLPF)

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ILERA World Congress 2018 - “Future of Work from Diverse Fields”

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Global Business Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals

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2nd African Regional Meeting of the EU Policy Forum on Development (PFD)

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IOE Contact

Pierre Vincensini

Direct line: +41 22 929 00 15


Download the IOE Position Paper - Overview on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the role of business

The most often quoted definition of sustainable development is from Our Common Future, "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.


Discussions on sustainability initially focused more on concerns about environmental degradation, considering all elements of the environment agenda - emissions into air, soil and water, resource depletion and waste management, as well as the climate change agenda. See Environment and Climate Change section


All these issues have led to formulation of the concepts of the green economy and green jobs. Considerable sums, within economic stimulus packages, have been earmarked for green growth and green jobs. Policy decisions, regulations, market-based instruments and funding to address green issues are now so extensive that they have a direct effect on business decision making and affect enterprises of all sizes and sectors.


Sustainable development goals

In order to revitalize action on the world’s most pressing challenges, the UN had launched a multi-stakeholder global dialogue, including the business community, on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). As a result, the post-2015 development agenda was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. The 17 new goals and 169 associated targets came into effect on 1 January 2016 and will frame the decisions on development cooperation over the next fifteen years.The outcome will have an impact on government priorities and hence the landscape for enterprise creation and growth.

All stakeholders are working to implement the agenda in their own countries and our Members need to be prepared to fully contribute and moreover, be a part of the accountability mechanism. This also highlights the importance of reinforcing ILO-tailored technical cooperation for Employers’ Organisations, building their capacity and allowing them to better engage in reaching this ambitious goal.


Sustainability reporting

There is pressure to have transparent and accountable targets against which progress can be measured. Many initiatives are aimed at obliging companies to report on their social and environmental performance. These are in addition to voluntary efforts by companies and sectors to provide information to customers and other stakeholders. Attempts to move towards fully integrated sustainability reporting have gained momentum.


This broad spectrum of work on sustainability and sustainable development is relevant for business because:

  • innovation and technological developments are creating new products, services and businesses to respond to and manage these new challenges,
  • economic and legislative responses are changing the political, practical, financial and social landscapes

These are driving political agendas and the framework conditions for business operations. It is important for employers’ organisations to engage in these discussions at all levels on behalf of their members.


IOE, working with other international business organisations such as ICC, BIAC, the Global Business Alliance or UNEP Business Coalition, focuses on the impact of sustainable development, climate change and environmental policies and measures on employment and social conditions and helps to ensure that policymakers have the business perspective at hand.


Please consult the IOE Guidance Papers to learn more.