Business as a force for good. The role of the private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

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300 business and government leaders met in Kuala Lumpur at the first national-level SDG Business Summit 2017 to advance Malaysian private sector action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit was officiated by Y.B Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

The commitment of Malaysian businesses to spearhead a multi-stakeholder approach was highly evident during the 1-day Summit to promote an SDG roadmap to achieve economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability by 2030.

“Businesses must contend with key existing and emerging social, environmental and economic issues that can significantly affect their bottom line. We understand these cannot be compartmentalized. Climate change, resource scarcity, eco-system degradation, social justice are all inter-connected. A business can only grow and be sustainable in a sustainable society, so it is an imperative to develop awareness, collaborate and engage proactively. Driving sustainable development is risk management: by recognizing the rise of caring consumers, strengthening supply chains and responsibly securing access to social and natural capital” said Mrs. Sharifatul Hanizah Said Ali, CEO, Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC).

Expert speakers and panelists from international agencies, high-level government representatives and global companies from across industries shared insights and strategies for sustainable growth and CSR. The highlights of the Summit included forum discussions on national and industry perspectives to achieve the SDGs, how the SDGs can enable greater ROI, the role of leaders to build human capital for sustainability, and responsible investment and financing.

“Businesses are disruptors. They create and champion new economic models, drive social innovation and pioneer new technology. When businesses adapt to stay ahead of the market they catalyse change. The SDGs offer businesses a fresh and historic opportunity to design, build, deliver and operate the engines of sustainability. The private sector can help Malaysians make more sustainable choices by putting people and planet-friendly products on the shelf to grow new areas for profit” said Dr. Puvan Selvanathan, President of the Global Compact Network Malaysia (GCMY), a civil society organization (CSO) promoting the Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Stefan Priesner, the recently appointed United Nations Resident Coordinator designated for Malaysia noted “As the backbone of the nations’ economic growth and a source of technological innovation, the private sector plays a critical role in helping to deliver Malaysia’s commitment to the SDGs.” He added “Governments worldwide have well-defined roles in the global development and sustainability agenda, and the private sector’s participation can expand beyond the usual expectations of contribution to economic growth, tax revenue and employment – towards social inclusion and environmental sustainability. The world is looking forward to the private sector as an equal partner in delivering the global development agenda”.

The SDG Business Summit 2017 was organized by The Global Compact Network Malaysia (GCMY), Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC) and United Nations Country Team Malaysia.


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