Turkey – BCSD Turkey
What is your country’s government doing with respect to the SDGs and how have they engaged business around this agenda?
Since the adoption of the 2030 agenda in 2015, Turkey has pursued a holistic approach and chose to implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their indicators by integrating them into the National Development Plans (NDPs), as well as sectoral and thematic national policy and strategy documents. The Presidency of Strategy and Budget (PSB) is in charge of preparing NDPs, and – as the national focal point for the SDGs – PSB is also responsible for coordinating VNR preparations.
Turkey has emphasized its commitment to contribute to a sustainable world on several occasions. It has presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) twice already: in 2016 (VNR Report 2016) and in 2019 (VNR Report 2019). While Turkey’s first review laid down a roadmap with concrete steps to achieve the SDGs, the second review focused on the status of progress towards the SDGs.
Based on the insights of the VNRs, Turkey has identified focus areas for each SDG and began working on them by systematically examining specific targets and paying special attention to vulnerable groups. In addition, an online National SDG Best Practices Database has been set up to continuously collect practices and projects of public and private sectors, academia, NGOs and municipalities. These efforts have led to progress in many of the SDGs. In particular, SDG 1, SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 9 and SDG 11 stand out as goals towards which significant progress has been achieved already.
To monitor progress, Turkey has assigned responsibilities for 218 SDG indicators to different Ministries, and a Sustainable Development Indicators Set comprised of 83 indicators was published by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT) in 2019.
With its “Leaving No One Behind” principle, which applies both within and outside the country, Turkey believes that engagements and practices of all stakeholders – public and private sector, local authorities, NGOs, academia and citizens – are essential ensuring that every individual achieves the full package of opportunities expressed by the SDGs.
What are some of the key trends with regard to how business is engaging with the SDGs in your country?
BCSD Turkey, Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TURKONFED), Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) are among the key organizations working on SDGs in Turkey. Their main purpose is to raise the private sector’s awareness of the SDGs, notably through the organization of conferences. These organizations have also greatly contributed to the online National SDG Best Practices Database during the VNR 2019 preparation process.
According to the Reporting matters analysis (see more details under 3. below), which the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Turkey conducted for 23 of its members in 2017 and for 25 of its members in 2018, the percentage of companies which have linked their business strategies with the SDGs rose from 17% in 2017 to 84% in 2018. This increase is not least due to the various SDG initiatives taken by the Council.
What is your organization doing with respect to the SDGs?
Since their adoption in 2015, BCSD Turkey guides companies in integrating the SDGs into their business strategies. In 2016, we aligned our objectives with the SDGs and defined five SDG focus areas:
- Transition to Low Carbon Economy and Energy Effeciency
- Sustainable Agriculture and Access to Food
- Sustainable Industry and Circular Economy
- Social Inclusion
- Sustainable Finance and Risk Management
In the context of these five working areas, we have implemented numerous projects with 61 members from 19 different sectors in the country. Materials Marketplace Platform, Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Climate Smart Agriculture and Equal Steps Platform are among our most recent projects.
In cooperation with TÜSİAD and UNGC, the Council organizes conferences around these topics to bring the Turkish business world together and increase awareness on the SDGs. Using social media and through the activities of our working groups, we reach out to a wide range of corporations and share knowledge on sustainability issues with our members and other stakeholders.
In 2017, BCSD Turkey launched Reporting matters in Turkey with the aim of increasing the quality and effectiveness of non-financial reporting, thus contributing to the level of standardization and transparency among Turkish companies. For more details on the results, please see Reporting matters 2017 and Reporting matters 2018 reports.
Furthermore, BCSD Turkey played an important role in the drafting of the VNR 2019. We were selected among six other organizations to coordinate the review preparation process. We have also encouraged our members to enter their best practices into the National SDG Best Practices Database. Eventually, five projects from four BCSD Turkey members have been included in the VNR 2019.