Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Tag: sustainable development

How Companies Can Champion Sustainable Development

Given political climates around the world and a new wariness around international cooperation, the private sector could find itself in the hot seat: trying to pick up the slack on big issues from climate change to sustainable development. This demand for taking on a larger role may come not only from advocacy and watchdog groups but also from customers, investors, partners, and employees.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

Seize The Year: And Now For All The Non-Trump News Crowded Out in 2017

It is already the start of the third month of 2017. We have been so absorbed with the daily barrage of news from Washington DC and Mar-a-Lago, and news about news, both fake and real, that it seems all other headlines have been crowded out. So much else needs to be done in 2017 to create the headlines we would like to see in the months ahead. It is time to “carpe annum”, to seize the year.

No doubt, 2017 will live in the long shadow of 2016. We must also find ways to take stock and push beyond the shadows. Of the many from which to pick, we found 5 developments from the past year worth noting in its impact on our work ahead.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

“The Inclusive Innovators” – Business & the SDGs

by Bhaskar Chakravorti

Read “The Inclusive Innovators: 10 Questions | 20 Business Leaders | 17 Sustainable Development Goals”

Inclusive business — the pursuit of opportunities in traditionally unattractive or currently unprofitable market segments – is, increasingly, a strategic imperative for companies. Foregoing such segments could mean opening the door to disruption and closing it to options for future growth; this is an especially crucial concern that relates to developing economies, which represent the world’s faster-growth markets over the long-term. The idea of inclusion encompasses being inclusive of future generations and, by extension, underscores the need for responsible stewardship of the environment, natural resources and supply chains. In other words, sustainability is integral to inclusive business.

Inclusive InnovatorsIn light of many of the dramatic political developments of 2016, such as the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential elections, we can expect that governments of advanced economies will scale back their investments in international cooperation and global sustainable development, in favor of focusing on job creation at home. This will heighten the expectations from other sectors – the private sector, in particular – to step in and help fill the void. Pursuing business-as-usual objectives in parallel with inclusive business will require new models of innovation and partnership with other sectors. When successful, such “inclusive innovators” can pave the way for global growth, development and inclusive prosperity.

In January of 2016, the United Nations initiated a new global agenda leading up to 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in the fall of 2015. Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs consider the private sector as an essential participant in the process. The initiation of these new goals presents businesses and other sectors with a unique opportunity to expand the cadre of inclusive innovators who can accelerate progress on sustainable development worldwide.

This report is the outcome of a year-long in‐depth research effort involving over 20 global companies spanning a broad range of industries, conducted by The Fletcher School at Tufts University. It is part of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context research and conference initiative on inclusive growth.

The report is the third in a series. The first report, “Growth for Good or Good for Growth,” analyzes the drivers and barriers affecting the practice of inclusive business activities within a wide range of businesses; the second report, “Inclusion Inc.” shared perspectives on operationalizing these activities and outcomes of live problem-solving in a major conference held at The Fletcher School. “The Inclusive Innovators”, the third report of the series, applies the strategies, lessons, and insights from 20 well known global companies to identify ways in which businesses can leverage the SDGs to join sustainable business with sustainable development, as well as address several of the challenges that would need to be overcome.

We hope you will read critically, ask your own questions, challenge what needs to be challenged, and continue the discussion. Most significantly, we expect that this process shall have a positive impact on the actions that businesses and their partners take to improve the state of an increasingly fragile and divided world.

Read “The Inclusive Innovators: 10 Questions | 20 Business Leaders | 17 Sustainable Development Goals”

Why SDG17 is an essential sustainable development goal

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the 17th is the odd one out. As “Partnerships for the Goals”, it is the goal that helps you get to the other 16. For most businesses committed to sustainable development, however, this 17th goal may be the most essential – and challenging – to accomplish.

Read the full piece from Bhaskar Chakravorti in The Guardian

 Tackling the SDGs: are business targets clear, measurable and down-to-earth?

I was struck by the rather unprecedented linking of arms recently at Cannes by CEOs of the advertising industry’s “big six” competitors; WPP, Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom and Publicis, announced they would commit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to collectively build awareness and work with their clients in achieving them. Visionary commitments to sustainable development are inspiring and create halos for corporate brands. However, meaningful change will require companies to go beyond visionary intent or uplifting hashtags. Companies need to focus, declare specific targets and invest resources, people and time in a few, carefully chosen areas. Moreover, these priorities should be set at the very top of the organisation.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Guardian

As the global economy slows, how can sustainable development remain a priority?

The summer is heating up with reminders that the first anniversary of the launch of the 2030 Agenda is not far – and when it comes to implementing sustainable development worldwide, time passes rather quickly. The high level political forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is convening in New York, the first since the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It comes hot on the heels of businesses being reminded by Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York on June 22, who told those assembled that: “All businesses, everywhere, can and should play a role in improving our world.” He also added: “That starts with integrity – doing business right.”

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Guardian

Sustainable Business and Sustainable Development: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Given that 2030 is not that far, when one considers the magnitude of the [UN Sustainable Development] goals, it is worthwhile asking, which of the many stakeholders can maintain the momentum? Whose incentives are most closely aligned with achieving the goals and who has the resources to execute at scale across countries?

The answer is unavoidable: global business, as a stakeholder group, is best positioned to take the lead.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti at The Guardian

“The UN’s new goals could trigger a burst of innovation in sustainable development” by Bhaskar Chakravorti

Why, you might ask, should the private sector — with shareholder returns to worry about — get involved in lofty U.N. initiatives? First, the private sector contributes 60 percent of global GDP and 90 percent of the jobs, and may be better positioned to accomplish many of the goals because of better reach and resources. Second, if achieving some of the goals also helps achieve shareholder interests, the U.N. summit could result in a fresh burst of innovation and creative finance.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Washington Post