The Function of Corporations in Achieving the UN SDGs

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Last year, the United Nations general assembly ratified the adoption of seventeen sustainable development goals that represent the objectives of the international community throughout the next fifteen years. The millennium development goals have long expired since they were also ratified with the possibility of achieving certain objectives by the year 2015. Despite the expiry, these millennium development goals did not live up to their promise. The challenges that the goals tried to address are still a reality. This kind of agenda requires changes in the structure and mindset of future goals (Stordalen, and Mushtaq. 2015, 17). This is why the United Nations sought to come up with a new set of objectives that would guide nations as well as private organizations through the matters of priority and how to achieve them.

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One method that the private sector can be utilized is determining areas in which companies can focus given certain United Nations development goals. For instance, an energy company can choose to focus on goals related to reliable and affordable energy while a construction company, on the other hand, can concentrate on infrastructural matters. Therefore, sustainability work needs to be keenly and closely related to the business model (Colombo, Bologna, and Masera. 2013, 979). If a given companys sustainability activities comprise of monetary donations alone, the investments in question may also be at risk if the costs involved need to be cut at some point. This factor needs to be monitored despite how noble the monetary donations may be motivated. An example of a company involved in the implementation of the development goals is Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolateg. This leading and multinational hygiene and forest products company focus solely on sustainable and affordable water, global health, sanitation, and empowering women. All these areas are associated with the hygiene products the company produces as well as what their consumers desire (Singh. 2015, 58). This example demonstrates how a private corporation can achieve the United Nation's Goals and promote their products.

Private companies have been known to be especially driven by the urge to outdo their competitors using the latest in their innovation and creativity closet. The huge investments that are always put aside towards facilitating the growth of potential ideas can also be used to build a better world or create forums through which the useful knowledge can be shared (Lomazzi, M., Borisch, and Laaser. 2014,7). For instance, when the Syrian refugee crisis headlined news all around the world, global educational publisher Pearson wrote a check to aid those who suffered the consequences of the mistakes of a few. However, after sending more than seven hundred thousand in dollars, the company was not satisfied with the kind of assistance they had provided. They went ahead to look for more ways through which it could make personal contributions. According to the company's corporate affairs officer, Kate James, they were not accustomed to assisting during huge humanitarian crises. However, as more information about the crisis hit the news, it became apparent to her and other executives that the flood of refugees also included thousands of displaced children who would need educational assistance in the end. Pearson could intervene and help in this special area. As a result, the company developed an educational program that was designed to meet the needs of refugee kids. It is crucial to note that Pearson did not come to a conclusion on its own (Dodds. 2015, 5). The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals heavily influenced its actions.

The growth engine of the world economy is the business. Given the assistance of private companies, the Sustainable development goals have a great potential for improving the global business climate. This is according to United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark. She emphasized this point at a recent meeting involving the United Nations Private Sector Forum. The key is sustaining the relationship between sustainability organizations and corporations. The Sustainable Development Goals require high and well-discussed partnerships if the growth engine of the world economy is to be enhanced. To facilitate the smooth operation of businesses, a stable enabling environment needs to be created. These companies will herein provide the needed basis for corporate growth. The CEO of the global reporting initiative, Michael Meehan also seconded this motion because he believed that involving private companies would build trust among the businesses and in the market situation (Melamed. 2013,12) As a result, the entire economy would be counting significant benefits. However, to ensure that this level of success is reached, he emphasized that there was a need to establish necessary strategies and business models that rise above the fray of short-termism. Based on these economic facts, it is only right to note that the Sustainable Development Goals are important to business, and the business is equally important to the Sustainable Development Goals.

There exist strong precedents for the involvement of business in the United Nations initiatives. However, none of the initial collaborations match the kind of expertise and innovation that the Sustainable Development Goals call for. The Sustainable Development Goals could especially serve the private companies that are looking for long-term investments. Every private business representative understands the need to realize the priorities of their business (Sachs. 2012, 2209) Having established which goals require prioritization; and then the business executives can set innovation programs. SkyPower CEO, Kerry Adler noted that one of the ways through which the Sustainable Development Goals could be integrated into effective business models is doubling some of the commitments private companies have made to developing and poor countries. For instance, SkyPower was committed to building one gigawatt of solar electricity in Kenya within the next four years. Apart from supplying this useful source of power, the company is also looking to invest in the countrys infrastructural development program (Hesselman. 2015,110). If SkyPowers initiative succeeds, it will yield dividends for both the company and Kenya. The company will inject investment costs valued at an estimated four billion dollars. This cost will cover all energy generation installations. The projects services will sell at the market price to the government, which will, in turn, distribute it to its customers. This way, SkyPower will have figured a way through which they can build a large business, give fair returns to their shareholders, and make the desired contribution to society.

The words of United Nations Secretary-General emphasize the need for collective and long-term efforts if further progress is to be realized. Business holds the necessities that will enable the fulfillment of United Nations aspirational goals. This potential will, in the end, build the needed capacity and momentum that will allow a sweeping progress. Nevertheless, these implementation strategies and suggestions will not be that easy (Saviano, M. 2014, 37). The private companies and corporations will need a significant re-evaluation of the role of business in society. The companies with a unique global reach will have to take up more responsibility in those areas that are traditionally outside their visions, budgets, and balance sheets (Stordalen & Mushtaq. 2015, 26).

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is one way through which countries can learn to set clear development paths for the sake of every other citizen. Corporate responsibility High-Level to ending poverty, war, and misery; it is about contributing the available power and resources to aid in promoting fairness and equality. This responsibility will involve fostering a dynamic and functional sector while protecting environmental standards and labor rights.


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