UN High-Level Political Forum 2018 Countdown: SDG 6 & 7

Ensure Water, Sanitation and Energy for All

 
SDG Environment Energy.jpg
 

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 in New York under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the UN HLPF, USCIB is highlighting select initiatives by its member companies. In particular, USCIB is selecting some company initiatives that are working to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. A more comprehensive list of examples can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

One impactful project to note is an initiative by Monsanto that led to the development of a well for clean drinking water in Malawi. A team from Monsanto Malawi discovered that students at Kaphulika Primary School near Lilongwe had a commute of two miles to the closest water source, and therefore limiting drinking water and hygiene water at the school. The team subsequently constructed a water pump on school grounds to provide clean and reliable drinking water for over 950 children and the village of 3,000 people. The children were also gifted with reusable water bottles to take water home every day after school. The development of the well is another step forward for Monsanto to help achieve SDG 6 for Malawi and the world.

SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

In order to achieve SDG 7 to ensure renewable energy around the world, Mars has added solar panels to factories in California and aims to create renewable infrastructure in the U.S. and the UK. By the end of 2018, Mars will be using or purchasing renewable electricity to cover 100% of its operations in 11 countries. The use of renewable energy will help Mars reach its goal in reducing GHG emissions 100% by 2040 from direct operations and will help drive action for global climate change.

Tune in for next week when we will highlight company initiatives on Goal 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and Goal 12: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

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.