Chief Sustainability Officers Exchange Lessons on Transforming Businesses

Americas, Events, August 15 2018

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NEW YORK, USA: A half-day event hosted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in the margins of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) explored how businesses can accelerate “systems transformation.”

Featuring four panels consisting primarily of chief sustainability officers, the event titled, ‘Business and the SDGs – Accelerating Transformation: Insights from Chief Sustainability Officers & Sustainability Champions,’ addressed how companies are integrating the SDGs into operations, human rights, partnerships and investment towards the Goals.

Opening remarks by Liu Zhenmin, Head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), noted that businesses today operate in a geopolitical context that leaves much to be desired. Filippo Veglio, WBCSD, articulated the role of businesses in achieving the SDGs as: an engine of employment; a developer of technology and innovation; and a source of finance. Veglio described the implications of the SDGs for businesses, recalling the CEO Guide to the SDGs and SDG Compass, and highlighted the results of a joint survey of WBCSD members conducted with DNV GL.

In a panel on strategic integration of the SDGs into business practices, panelists highlighted challenges and solutions regarding the complexity of the SDGs and opportunities for impact. Approaches their companies have taken include “retrofitting” existing strategies to fit the SDGs, changing corporate governance structures and launching new sustainability initiatives. One difficulty, they noted, has been balancing the possible tension between generating short-term returns and creating long-term shared value. Doing so demands winning buy-in both internally and externally. Participants reported that they have had to engage buyers and other stakeholders as well as senior management teams and CEOs. Panelists also emphasized the importance of robust measurements and key performance indicators (KPIs), which, they noted, can not only demonstrate a company’s impact, but also align multiple levels of internal management.

For the full article, visit the source: IISD SDG Knowledge Hub

Re-posted with permission

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