News

Private sector dominates UN talks on Sustainable Development Goals, climate change

Global Compact Network Australia | September 26, 2014

The role of the private sector in shaping future sustainable development and climate change efforts dominated top UN discussions over the past week in New York. A number of meetings attended by UN and business highlighted the positive contribution the private sector can make in shaping the world’s future.

Climate Change and carbon pricing

The centrepiece of the week was a Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Over 100 Heads of State attended the Summit and made bold announcements, including a total pledge of US$2.3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. The Secretary-General urged members to consider the role of private finance in meeting the global challenges of climate change.

As part of the Climate Summit, the UN Global Compact hosted a Private Sector Forum which provided a platform for businesses to demonstrate meaningful actions to address climate change. 31 ‘Carbon Pricing Champions’ – including GCNA member Nestle – were announced, alongside commitments from many companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, map a total supply chain GHG reduction plan, support weather forecasting alert systems and invest in renewable energy projects. A list of commitments can be found here.

In addition, a statement by 268 investors representing US$15 trillion called for governments to provide stable and economically meaningful carbon pricing. This statement also urged a reduction in subsidies for fossil fuels. The Global Investor Statement on Climate Change can be found here.

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Global Compact and UN Industrial Organization also launched a report on 24 September on the practical role the private sector can play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on input from local networks around the world.

Key findings and recommendations in the report include:

  • Government and business should engage in a collaborative approach to sustainable development.
  • Government can put policy measures in place to incentivise greater implementation of voluntary sustainability initiatives.
  • There is an emerging consensus that the private sector will need to provide the bulk of innovative sustainable development financing. Non-traditional financial sectors must also be considered.
  • Spaces for dialogued should be created to enhance, strengthen and create new partnerships.
  • Trust must be built through enhanced transparency and accountability. This includes companies being transparent with regard to their social and environmental impacts, and transparent and participatory policymaking processes.

Read the full report here (PDF, 3,16MB).

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