Greece – SEV BCSD
What is your country’s government doing with respect to the SDGs and how have they engaged business around this agenda?
The incorporation of the 2030 Agenda into the national framework is based on a set of priorities, which was decided by the political leadership of the country, after completing a mapping, gap analysis and prioritization process by representatives of all ministries.
The task of monitoring and coordinating the national implementation of the SDGs has been assigned to the General Secretariat of the Government (GSG) and in particular the Office of Coordination, Institutional, International and European Affairs (OCIIEA).
Eight national priorities have been established, which are aligned with all 17 SDGs:
- Fostering a competitive, innovative and sustainable economic growth (SDGs 8, 9).
- Promoting full employment and decent work for all (SDG 8).
- Addressing poverty and social exclusion, and providing universal access to quality healthcare services (SDGs 1, 2, 3).
- Reducing social and regional inequalities and ensuring equal opportunities for all (SDGs 5, 10).
- Providing high-quality and inclusive education (SDG 4).
- Strengthening the protection and sustainable management of natural capital as a base for social prosperity and transition to a low-carbon economy (SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14,15).
- Building effective, accountable and transparent institutions (SDGs 16, 17).
- Enhancing open, participatory, democratic processes and promoting partnerships (SDGs 16, 17).
Stakeholder dialogue was limited so far and is expected to take place after the presentation of the first VNR at UN HLPF (July 2018). According to the VNR next steps will include the elaboration, in 2019, of a National Implementation Plan for the SDGs, consistent with the National Growth Strategy.
What are some of the key trends with regard to how business is engaging with the SDGs in your country?
Based on research conducted with EY Greece, the following key trends were identified for Greece:
- SDGs 8 and 9 are prioritized as the most significant, regardless of company size or business sector, followed by SDGs 7, 4, 17, 5 and 13. Furthermore, the private sector recognized that the SDGs are applicable to Greek companies despite the economic recession and that they constitute an opportunity towards sustainable development and the creation of shared value.
- Large companies are more prepared; nevertheless, the significance of the SDGs is acknowledged by most businesses even for those that have not yet begun integration.
- Large companies are also more willing to proceed to the next level of integrating the SDGs to their strategies, compared to medium and small enterprises. Most companies that are willing to move forward will do so from now to 2020.
- Senior executives, regardless of company size, have a high level of knowledge of sustainable development issues related to the SDGs. The engagement and awareness of middle management executives will be the crucial factor for their successful implementation. The lack of regulatory frameworks and incentives emerge as the main barriers, although different integration difficulties remain depending on size, sector and existing level of maturity, creating the need for tailormade initiatives from both the State and business community.
What is your organization doing with respect to the SDGs?
Sustainability is imperative to long-term business success. Against this backdrop, SEV BCSD promotes the incorporation of the SDGs in business strategies and collaborates with key stakeholders for their implementation at national level.
Key actions include:
SDG Business Conference
We organized the the first business conference in Greece which was a key starting point for the dialogue among companies and stakeholders on the SDGs. It offered a platform to present good practices in adopting the SDGs into business strategies and highlighted the necessity of broader synergies in achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Study on the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Greece – The business perspective
In 2017, we conducted this study with EY Greece to better understand the level of awareness, readiness and willingness of Greek companies towards integrating the SDGs in their strategy. The study explored the following sub-objectives:
- Identification and analysis of the status of Greek businesses, regarding the level of awareness and readiness towards integrating the SDGs into their strategy;
- Identification and analysis of the willingness of Greek businesses to integrate the SDGs into their strategy;
- Exploration of potential barriers that Greek companies may face towards integrating the SDGs into their strategy;
- Exploration of solutions to overcome identified barriers of integration.
During 2019, SEVBCSD will participate in stakeholders dialogue for the elaboration of a National Implementation Plan for the SDGs which is to be announced by the General Secretariat of the Government.