UN High-Level Political Forum 2018 Countdown: SDG 11 & 12

Ensure Sustainable Cities, Consumption and Production for All

 
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This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development is being held July 9-18 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies,” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, and Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the HLPF, we are highlighting some initiatives our member companies are working on to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. More examples of initiatives can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

A notable project is one initiative by Novozymes to manage and treat solid waste and wastewater for cities. In a partnership with DONG Energy in the UK, Novozymes is incorporating special enzymes into a waste management plant in England. This will ensure that most of the waste from 110,000 UK homes is recycled into biogas, plastic, metal, and fuel. Most importantly, the biogas can be converted into green power and used to generate 5MW of electricity to power 9,500 households. The project will help aid cities to be more productive with their waste management, to be more sustainable overall, and to help achieve SDG 11.

SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Cargill is working with several partners to achieve SDG 12 to eliminate food loss and ensure global food security. Cargill addresses hunger, food waste, food security, and other issues in 18 countries by working with national food banks. They also participate in Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) initiative, led by EAT and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which brings together business and science to help accelerate progress across the value chain for global food systems. Furthermore, Cargill is working with World Resources Institute to create and deploy an accounting system toolkit to reduce food loss and waste by setting reduction targets, creating measurement and reporting processes, and creating internal and external awareness.

Next week, we will highlight company initiatives on Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss; and Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Evolution of Corporate Sustainability

How Innovation in Infrastructure Can Help Advance the Sustainable Development Goals

In an article in Forbes on May 30, 2017, Tam Nguyen, global head of sustainability at Bechtel Corporation, describes how corporate sustainability is evolving with new technologies and innovation. Tam Nguyen leads and implements the corporate sustainability strategy throughout the company and their projects in 160 countries. As Vice-chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee, he works with member companies to communicate U.S. business action, manage risks arising from new regulatory and civil society expectations and channel USCIB member feedback into policy deliberations and standard-setting processes at international organizations. Nguyen also serves as a co-Chair of USCIB’s Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the interview, Nguyen indicates that technology and innovation can help corporate sustainability and companies use data and analysis to communicate actionable insights throughout their complex organizations. Such metrics will help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which can be achieved by management systems and actions that companies take to become more sustainable in their operations and initiatives. By incorporating technology and innovation, companies are already implementing new practices and programs to advance the SDGs -- especially Goal 9 – Build Infrastructure, Foster Innovation. Nguyen notes that Bechtel relies on innovation to help achieve Goal 7 – Ensure Energy for All; Goal 8 – Promote Economic Growth & Decent Work; and Goal 12 – Ensure Sustainable Consumption & Production.

According to Nguyen, “sustainability is one of the biggest drivers of innovation today and into the future.” He goes on to express the significance of market and the public increasingly valuing and seeking out information on corporate sustainability performance. For Nguyen, technology and innovation help businesses function more efficiently across many sectors through sustainable methods, which will in turn help improve company reputation to customers and stakeholders. Sustainability challenges and business imperatives are opportunities for companies to align sustainability to risk management in a comprehensive way which will then help their bottom line and help business to achieve the SDGs.

Read the full interview with Tam Nguyen here.