Seizing the economic prize of the SDGs
Multi-trillion dollar revenues, new consumer markets, and the chance to help shape a better world: These are the opportunities that business can unlock by delivering on the Sustainable Developent Goals (SDGs), said global leaders at the recently concluded Ecosperity conference in Singapore.
Organised by investment firm Temasek with the theme, “Tomorrow Starts Today: Securing Our Sustainable Future in Asia,” this year’s conference focused on how businesses can — and must — align their operations to the SDGs to unlock economic opportunities and long-term prosperity.
The conference saw global CEOs, innovators, and thought leaders gather to discuss the latest issues surrounding sustainable growth, and how it is not only possible, but essential for businesses to secure long-term prosperity while lifting millions out of poverty and using natural resources sustainably.
A key highlight of the conference was the launch of the Asia edition of the “Better Business, Better World” report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, which showed that pursuing sustainable business offers the region’s private sector a US$5 trillion opportunity and promises to create 230 million jobs by 2030.
Ecosperity 2017 was also a platform for innovative businesses to showcase how they are successfully aligning their operations with the SDGs while achieving commercial success worldwide.
These companies include China’s bike-sharing platform Mobike, agri-business firm Olam, cooling systems firm ST Engineering, urban farming experts Edible Garden City, urban industrial and infrastructure firm Surbana Jurong, among others.
Speakers at the conference included consumer goods giant Unilever chief executive officer Paul Polman, renewable energy company Fluidic Energy co-founder and chief of marketing Dennis Thomsen, Olam group head Sunny Verghese, and Thomas Lembong, chairman, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Bank (BKPM).
Businesses play a crucial role in reducing poverty, improving living standards, and protecting the environment even as they pursue long-term prosperity, argued these corporate leaders, stressing that their own companies have proved that balancing these two objectives is not just possible, but also profitable.
As Polman put it: “We have our whole business model geared towards the Sustainable Development Goals. And that is brands with purpose. They grow faster, they are more profitable, so it does make a lot of economic sense as well.”
Watch highlights of Ecosperity 2017 in this video produced by Eco-Business.