In a recent interview on Greenbiz, Amina Mohammed, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Post-2015 spoke about the role of the private sector to date and going forward in the 2030 Development Agenda. Some notable excerpts are below:
Makower: What do you want to see from the business community going forward in terms of being proactive, being engaged, being authentic and ultimately being impactful?
Mohammed: We already have seen that — the engagement that we've had so far in helping to shape this agenda, both from the financing for development and the goals themselves. We've had engagement that has surprised us, that has gone further than we expected beyond the conversation on corporate social responsibility to really looking at companies’ business models. That has been very useful with Unilever, IKEA and Volvo; so many companies have come to the table on this. I'd like to think that we could scale that up and that businesses at the multinational level would begin to have this conversation with local businesses so that you are really talking about the whole community of business and the private sector.
That's on the side of business that speaks to transforming economies, industrialization and manufacturing. There is the other side of the private sector, which is about insurance, about bringing instruments in to help us on service delivery — for instance, on health and some of the social-protection floors.
Mrs. Mohammed also spoke about implementation and the role of global business organizations, including the International Chamber of Commerce, in facilitating business engagement:
Makower: Tell me a little bit more about how that conversation would take place. I’m guessing that a lot of people reading this who have sustainability leadership positions in companies are saying, "Okay, this sounds like something we should engage in. How should a company approach this?”
Mohammed: We're going to be making much more of an effort now at the country level with the UN country teams to look at the different stakeholders that we will be helping to convene. That's what we'll be doing: helping to facilitate countries to achieve their policy frameworks and the plans they have over the next 20 or 30 years. We hope they use the SDG framework to raise the ambition and bring the partnerships together for a sustainable development pathway.
I see the 17 goals themselves as a pipeline of opportunities for investment. So if we're talking about cities, what will go into that, and what sort of businesses will be the mainstay of it, and how can we begin to broker a conversation with those stakeholders, government and the finance community?
Makower: I’m still not sure I got an answer. Who should a company contact to say, "We want to understand how we can play a role. We have a specific idea we'd like to put forward." Or is it too early?
Mohammed: It's already happening. These conversations and companies are already contacting the Global Compact. They're contacting the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. There already are these networks in place, and they're working very hard at brokering these partnerships. What we need to see is how they will scale up and be much more effective on the ground.
Come here Mrs. Mohammed speak directly to the business community at the launch event for Business for 2030.org on September 24, at 3pm at the Harvard Club.