It was clear from the beginning of the SDG journey that the world will not reach the ambitious goals without the active participation of the private sector because national governments don’t have the wherewithal to reach the goals on their own.(SHUTTERSTOCK)
It was clear from the beginning of the SDG journey that the world will not reach the ambitious goals without the active participation of the private sector because national governments don’t have the wherewithal to reach the goals on their own.(SHUTTERSTOCK)

Private sector should take the lead in investing in SDGs

Companies need to look at their SDG strategy because there has been an increase in regulatory pressure, push from investors and banks, and media to align their polices with the global goals
By KumKum Dasgupta | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON OCT 01, 2019 04:27 PM IST

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S Jaishankar spoke at length at different forums (the PM at United Nations General Assembly and Jaishankar at Asia Society) on how the world’s largest democracy has embodied the SDGs in its work towards “peace, development and progress in the world”. On October 2, if reports are to be believed, the PM will declare India open defecation free (ODF), which is surely impact several SDGs.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S Jaishankar spoke at length at different forums (the PM at United Nations General Assembly and Jaishankar at Asia Society) on how the world’s largest democracy has embodied the SDGs in its work towards “peace, development and progress in the world”. On October 2, if reports are to be believed, the PM will declare India open defecation free (ODF), which will impact several SDGs. India is central to the SDG because if the country doesn’t reach the goals, the world will also fail to do so.

One of the key aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global road map signed by 193 countries in 2015 for building a sustainable, equitable and prosperous world by 2030, is private sector participation. It was clear from the beginning of the SDG journey that the world will not reach the ambitious goals without the active participation of the private sector because national governments don’t have the wherewithal to meet those promises on their own.

According to the United Nations, there is an estimated SDG investment gap of $2.5 trillion per year in developing countries. But financial investment is not that only thing that national governments are looking for from the private sector. They are also looking at the private sector to pitch in with their creativity, know-how, innovation and technology to help nations reach the goals.

Step up to the plate

Unfortunately, many companies in India, and the world, still don’t understand the value in participating in the SDG process.

According to The Decade to Deliver: A Call to Business Action, by The United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Strategy CEO Study on Sustainability 2019, around 33% of global business leaders, who until three years ago saw integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a business opportunity, are shying away from adopting them.

According to the study, currently 67% of CEOs see sustainability as a window of opportunity to recalibrate their efforts in line with the global milestones. This number was 90% in 2016, according to the report. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are majorly responsible for this overall drop in perception. Around 63% SMEs cite a lack of financial resources as the main impediment, according to the report. Earlier this year, NITI Aayog also said that corporations need to play a greater role in achieving SDGs.

So the obvious question is: Can private firms gain from participating in this development process?

A lot, says companies that already have “repay” plans in place, and are aligning their plans to SDGs.

“If you look back in time, businesses have sought to address one issue: How to solve the problems of human beings. Now we have reached a stage, we must focus on the big problems of human beings. Otherwise corporations will not be able to sustain profits. We need to focus on what are the unmet needs of the under-served categories, and innovate in the products and services category,” Rajeev Dubey, group president, HR and Corp. Services, Mahindra Group, told HT.

Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group, says that the group believes there are many problems are large and chronic and the solutions must come from the core businesses of a company. So when their manufacturing plant at Igatpuri, Maharashtra, become water sufficient, it was good news for the agricultural community who live around the factory because they also gained from improved water level.

Importantly, Nidhi Pundhir, director, HCL Foundation, says that businesses should not forget that they generate employment and create wealth by using a nation’s human and natural resource base, and, therefore, it is only proper that they also give back to society.

Here’s an example which explains why companies must understand that they cannot operate in isolation: A few years ago, a paint company in Gujarat was planning to introduce water-based paints, along with its existing range of solvent-based paints. Before starting production, they checked the groundwater around their plant, and found that there was a severe scarcity and also that the quality of water was not up to the mark. The company had to scrap their expansion plans.

“The example shows that companies need to evaluate their projects from the risk and security approach [social and environmental], and not from just the ROI perspective,” Anand Krishnamurthy, co-founder, Envint, a sustainability services firm explained. In addition, he added, companies need to understand that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is different from sustainability, the later needs to be a part of a company’s core strategy.

Companies also need to look at their SDG strategy because, along with the moral push, there has been an increase in pressure from regulators, investors and media to align their policies with global goals.

Last, on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary, what better tribute can the private sector offer other than taking up the causes of sustainability, inclusivity, and equity.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Representational image. (AFP)
Representational image. (AFP)

Congress needs to worry more about rebels than opponents in Puducherry

By Abhishek Jha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 06:32 PM IST
The only time the Congress has lost Puducherry, it has been because of a rebel. The Congress and DMK together have won over 50% seats in every assembly elections in Puducherry since 1980, except in 2011
Close
At a January meeting to review projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed displeasure at the process-driven bureaucracy (ANI)
At a January meeting to review projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed displeasure at the process-driven bureaucracy (ANI)

Behind PM Modi’s stinging critique of the IAS, a Jan meeting holds the clue

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2021 09:35 AM IST
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given bureaucrats an earful at a January meeting of the country's top officials and underlined the price that India paid for their slow pace.
Close
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.

Salute to Ghulam Nabi Azad underlined PM Modi’s personal ties with rivals

By Saubhadra Chatterji | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2021 03:37 PM IST
  • Leaders from the Congress and other Opposition parties have many stories to show that the Prime Minister has maintained personal rapport with leaders cutting across political boundaries.
Close
Officials carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on Sunday. (File photo)
Officials carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on Sunday. (File photo)

Not just climate change, Chamoli disaster was human-induced

UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2021 12:15 PM IST
Stone quarrying, blasting of mountains and digging of tunnels in the base of the mountain system for two dams on Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers played havoc with the local ecology
Close
In this file photo, a man hangs on to pole holding a Sikh religious flag along with a farm union flag at the historic Red Fort monument during a farmers protest against new farm laws in New Delhi(AP)
In this file photo, a man hangs on to pole holding a Sikh religious flag along with a farm union flag at the historic Red Fort monument during a farmers protest against new farm laws in New Delhi(AP)

Perception is the truth in information warfare over farm laws

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi, Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2021 01:42 PM IST
  • The Chinese were among the first to recognise the role of information warfare to weaken the adversary from within
Close
Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)
Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)

A new confidence about India reflects in a bold Budget 2021

By Monika Halan
UPDATED ON FEB 01, 2021 09:59 PM IST
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has chosen to spend on generating future income using the higher capital spending, which has gone up by 35.4% over the previous year
Close
Shaibal Gupta also made a pioneering contribution in explaining the historical roots and the evolution of Bihar’s politics, which have today become the staple of everyday political analysis. (FACEBOOK)
Shaibal Gupta also made a pioneering contribution in explaining the historical roots and the evolution of Bihar’s politics, which have today become the staple of everyday political analysis. (FACEBOOK)

The life and times of a Patna intellectual

UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2021 06:20 AM IST
Shaibal Gupta was rooted and cosmopolitan; idealistic and pragmatic; and an insider and outsider — all at the same time. Patna’s public life will not the same without him.
Close
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's address on India-China ties is a reminder to Beijing that the bilateral relationship between the two Asian powers is not a one-way street.(AP/File)
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's address on India-China ties is a reminder to Beijing that the bilateral relationship between the two Asian powers is not a one-way street.(AP/File)

Jaishankar yellow-cards China for violating pacts, spells out the India way

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 03:02 PM IST
  • S Jaishankar’s speech on India-China ties signals India’s determination to continue to stand up to Xi Jinping’s expansionist plans for Asia as an equal and makes it clear that nothing that Beijing does against India will be overlooked, or allowed to go unpunished.
Close
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015 (REUTERS)
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015 (REUTERS)

Jack Ma story: China’s deep strategic ambition

By Manoj Kewalramani
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 04:50 AM IST
This statist vision of the future is very different from the government creating a level-playing field for private capital to compete and the market to do its job. It is about the State guiding capital and private entities towards what it believes are national strategic priorities, rather than allowing them to simply focus on generating greater revenue.
Close
A Nihang Sikh aboard a horse inside Red Fort on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
A Nihang Sikh aboard a horse inside Red Fort on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

Republic Day raid was pre-meditated, planned well in advance

UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:17 PM IST
With Delhi Police under firm orders not to open fire, the armed Nihang Sikhs provided the cover for the tractors to roll towards Red Fort.
Close
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.

How unruly farmers tried to embarrass India on Republic Day

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:09 PM IST
The tractor-borne unruly farmers were minutes away from India Gate when they were blocked by New Delhi Range police.
Close
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The policy landscape around digital and physical micro-lending

By Amol Agrawal
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
In 1870s, a similar backlash emerged in Poona and Ahmednagar districts of the Bombay presidency. The agriculture boom in the early 1860s led farmers to take loans from moneylenders
Close
A tiny tax on stock market transactions can help fund India’s vaccination drive without burning a hole in the wallets of stock market investors and give the government headroom for other expenditure to help save lives (AFP)
A tiny tax on stock market transactions can help fund India’s vaccination drive without burning a hole in the wallets of stock market investors and give the government headroom for other expenditure to help save lives (AFP)

Vaccinating all Indians, for free

By Praveen Chakravarty
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
The markets are at an all-time high. Impose a Covid-19 surcharge on transactions and use it for vaccination
Close
Why is it that, despite the government displaying its willingness to take a step back, the matter was not resolved? (PTI)
Why is it that, despite the government displaying its willingness to take a step back, the matter was not resolved? (PTI)

Farm protests: The costs of a prolonged standoff

By Shashi Shekhar
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
The government has extended an olive branch. The farmers must respect this and reciprocate. The tone set on Saturday should pave the way for a permanent solution.
Close
Pushing against the climate crisis — in spite of the terrible fire and hurricane damage — was his way of putting the economy before all else. This is what Biden-Harris will have to overcome with smart policies and even smarter communication. (AFP)
Pushing against the climate crisis — in spite of the terrible fire and hurricane damage — was his way of putting the economy before all else. This is what Biden-Harris will have to overcome with smart policies and even smarter communication. (AFP)

On climate, what the US needs to do

By Sunita Narain
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:25 AM IST
Joe Biden has done well to rejoin the Paris accord. But his administration will have to overcome Trumpism, take responsibility for historic emissions, and change energy consumption patterns at home
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP