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Australian business leaders show support for the Sustainable Development Goals

Today, over thirty leaders from the Australian business community have come together behind a public CEO Statement of Support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

7 September 2016

The SDGs – agreed by all 193 United Nations member states and applicable to all countries – are a new global agenda laying out a roadmap over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and protect the planet. 

“While governments hold primary responsibility for the SDGs, the private sector is indispensable to achieving the goals,” said Alice Cope, Executive Manager of the Global Compact Network Australia – the Australian business-led network of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative – which led the development of the CEO Statement. 

“Today, with this Statement, this incredible list of CEOs showing support for the SDGs demonstrates the private sector’s willingness to contribute to realising a sustainable future for Australia and the world.” 

“There are a range of ways the private sector can contribute to the SDGs – through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration,” said Ms Cope. 

“We are seeing companies embrace the SDGs both in recognition of the critical role they have in contributing to the agenda but also the upside to their businesses in doing so. The SDGs provide a framework for both risk management and opportunity. Businesses that are able to offer solutions to the local and global sustainability challenges represented by the goals will build resilience, find new markets and position themselves competitively for the future,” said Ms Cope. 

“For a number of months, the Global Compact Network Australia through its Sustainable Development Leadership Group, which we launched last year in partnership with DFAT, has been supporting companies in mapping their activities against the SDGs and incorporating the goals into thinking and strategies. The level of interest and engagement from the Australian business community has been outstanding.” 

The issues covered by the SDGs include poverty and inequality, education, health, gender equality, water, climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities, peace and governance. 

“The scope of the SDGs is broad, and businesses will find relevant points in the agenda that they can connect with and contribute to,” said Ms Cope. “The SDGs also provide a framework to align business strategies with national and global priorities, and so provide a shared agenda around which business, government, civil society and academia can come together.”

The CEO Statement is being launched on the occasion of the inaugural Australian SDGs Summit, which will, for the first time since the SDGs came into effect, bring together Australian leaders and decision-makers from government, business, civil society, academia and youth organisations to advance Australian action to achieve the SDGs.

Visit the UN Global Compact website for more.