Connecting Business with the Sustainable Development Goals: WBCSD at the UN General Assembly High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs
New York City, 22 April 2016: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) assumed a prominent role in the context of a high level thematic debate which was held yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York focusing on the topic of “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. The debate feeds into the wider framework of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It took place on the eve of the historic signing ceremony for the Paris Climate Agreement, underlining the strong links between these areas.
The debate brought together leaders from around the globe; across politics, civil society and business. It aimed to raise awareness, foster opportunities for partnerships and catalyze action around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted in September 2015. These goals will shape the global development agenda through to 2030.
Discussions focused on the critical role that business has to play in helping to realize the 2030 agenda, particularly in the context of innovation and investment and with regard to tackling complex challenges such as the delivery of sustainable, inclusive and resilient global food systems.
Business had a strong and vocal presence around the event with the following executives from WBCSD member companies in attendance and engaging actively in a variety of key debates and policy discussions:
- Natura – Guilherme Leal, Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors
- Olam – Sunny Verghese, CEO
- Engie – Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman & CEO
- Novozymes – Thomas Videbæk, COO & EVP of Research, Innovation & Supply
- YES Bank – Namita Vikas, Group President & Country Head – Responsible Banking & Chief Sustainability Officer
- IKEA – Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer
- Kellogg Company – Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer
- Unilever – Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer
- TOTAL – Jérôme Schmitt, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development & Environment
- Tata – James Shapiro, Resident Director, North America
- Accenture – Jessica Long, Managing Director, Strategy & Sustainability
- EY – Brendan LeBlanc, Partner
- Iberdrola – Carlos Sallé Alonso, Regulatory Affairs Manager
WBCSD President and CEO Peter Bakker engaged in a series of roundtable discussions during the course of the event and noted: “This High Level Thematic Debate provides a welcome and timely opportunity to add to the growing momentum around the implementation of the SDGs. Important discussions like this will help us to collectively navigate the road to a sustainable and prosperous 2030. The SDGs provide a robust framework and an historic opportunity for companies to harness their capital and creativity to help solve global challenges. As an engine of economic growth and employment and a source of technology and innovation, business has both a critical role to play and a vested interest in contributing to this agenda.”
- Turning promises into action: how business will help governments achieve their climate targets – WBCSD President & CEO Peter Bakker, April 21, 2016
- News release on DIVA partnership aimed at scaling up corporate impact ventures, with Novozymes and DSM as co-founders, and WBCSD as member – April 21, 2016
- For more insight regarding the SDGs, please visit WBCSD’s new SDG Business Hub, a dynamic, online platform which provides easy access to the latest insight and resources. It includes tools like the SDG Compass (which has just released a set of new resources and translations) and our latest issue brief on how inclusive business can contribute to the SDGs.