april 2016 letter to the economist
* You rightly point out that there remains a substantial amount of work to do to make sustainability the new business norm. Disruptive innovations and standard business concerns to control risk and cost are breaking new ground and transforming business models. They are challenging the status quo of established industries—from fossil fuels to fashion. Given growing environmental and security threats, the private sector needs to accelerate inclusive growth and drive sustainability at far greater speed and scale. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a framework for business to do just that.
A major challenge is the trust deficit in society with regard to business, especially large multinationals and financial institutions. Recent political developments in Europe and America are widely seen as rebukes to economic elites and dramatic evidence of the dire lack of trust. The SDGs, therefore, have a second purpose: to serve as a roadmap for business to create the social license it needs to operate and thrive.
By pursuing the SDGs through sustainable and inclusive new business models, the private sector can rebuild bridges. The result could be that sustainability loses its “faddish” reputation entirely, and instead, becomes an enduring business must-have.
Business & Sustainable Development Commission