More than philanthropy: SDGs are a $12 trillion opportunity for the private sector

25 Aug 2017 by Nazila Vali, Programme Analyst Private Sector, UNDP

African woman carrying waterUK-based micro-insurance specialist MicroEnsure, a member of Business Call to Action (BCtA) since 2012, has made an ambitious pledge to insure 5 million additional low-income customers by 2020. Photo: MicroEnsure
Inclusive business practices can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals while opening up new market opportunities for companies The vast majority of the reports, papers or articles about development starts with the numerous complex issues and challenges yet to be solved. Our work - as well as how it is perceived - could change drastically if, instead, we chose to focus on the incredible opportunities yet to be seized. According to the Better Business Better World report by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, achieving the Global Goals could open up an estimated US$12 trillion in market opportunities in four economic systems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being. They represent around 60 percent of the real economy and are critical to delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … Read more

Business models that improve lives while protecting the environment: Lessons from the Philippines

14 Aug 2017 by Sahba Sobhani, UNDP Private Sector Programme Advisor and Markus Dietrich, Director, Asian Social Enterprise Incubator

Inclusive agroforestry business models can unlock significant potential to achieve positive social and environmental impacts. UNDP photo
To date, many business actors involved in poverty alleviation and environmental protection have operated in silos, largely disconnected from each other. Both sectors follow ecosystem approaches, but in poverty reduction circles, impact is seen as positive and desirable, while environmentalists see impact as negative and to be minimized. However, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now provide a common and holistic language, integrating frameworks and related policies that development and environmental protection actors can unite under. A new report from UNDP, the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development and Business Call to Action examines inclusive business models at the nexus of poverty and environment. The report focuses on three inclusive businesses that challenge our understanding of business impact by integrating social and environmental frameworks. It highlights that scaling up inclusive business models leads to both positive social and environmental impact. … Read more

Companies are producing more responsibly, more sustainably

14 Jul 2017 by Paula Pelaez, Programme Manager, Business Call to Action

Factory workersMUJI is sourcing wool and wool products from Kyrgyzstan. Photo: MUJI
The world is a riskier place to operate in. Populations are growing and feeding people is becoming trickier. Climate change is challenging our security and ability to make a living. Global markets have become more unstable. For companies, these global trends present both risks and opportunities, requiring them to rethink how to source and produce in a sustainable way. At the Business Call to Action, we work with companies who are applying sustainable principles in their daily operations. What have we learned from them? … Read more

Four trends in development innovation

12 Jul 2017 by Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist in Innovation at UNDP

Mapping of the MaldivesDrone assisted mapping mission in the Maldives, a nation facing growing threat from rising sea levels and coastal storms. Photo: Vinita Aggarwal
This week’s High-Level Political Forum in New York will review progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Its theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" makes reference to the accelerated pace of change, an indication of the determination UN Member States and agencies have to shift business as usual. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in April, “without innovation there is no way to overcome the challenges of our time” and added “to make sure that innovation works for all and not only a few”. Innovation is maturing as a dedicated field within the development and humanitarian sectors. Combining emerging technologies with user-centric, behavioural and lean approaches. Our report ‘Spark, Scale, Sustain’, released this week, highlights how the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is investing to test and scale innovation, with support of the Government of Denmark. … Read more

Better understanding of human behaviour can help achieve the global development agenda

09 May 2017 by Benjamin Kumpf, Innovation Policy Specialist, UNDP and Lori Foster, Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, North Carolina State University

Recycling e-waste: Research shows that people are highly motivated to take actions their peers have also taken, and this knowledge can be used to design people-centred policies to achieve positive results. UNDP photo
Should you take the medication you need every day at the designated time? Should you test your drinking water supply for safety? Should you invest in fertilizer when you know it will increase your yields? Should you save enough for retirement? The answer to these questions, and to others concerned with general matters of personal wellbeing, is clearly yes. Most people want to do what’s best for them. Despite knowing what’s good for them, many people do not take their medication on-time, ensure their drinking water is safe, spend their money on long-term investments or put aside enough for retirement. All too often, we humans postpone important intended actions to tomorrow, pursue information that only reflects our own point of view or unfairly emphasize the latest information we see over older yet relevant data. … Read more

Is your company ready to engage with the SDGs?

19 Apr 2017 by Sahba Sobhani, Private Sector Programme Advisor, UNDP and Robert de Jongh, Specialist Leader, Social Finance, Deloitte Consulting

For 50 years, UNDP has worked with the private sector to create jobs, establish value chains and build infrastructure. Photo: BUTGEM, Turkey
SDG engagement can take the form of a tested and decade-old concept: inclusive business. A new report helps companies assess how ready they are to incorporate it. These are unsettling times. The promise of globalization is being increasingly eclipsed by political uncertainty and a rising tide of nationalism and protectionism. In listening to workers displaced by automation or communities who feel the squeeze of disparities in income and political capital, the world is beginning to recognise that progress has not only been uneven, but that the costs of globalization in some instances might outweigh the benefits. … Read more

How do you inspire entrepreneurship in a conflict-affected region?

12 Apr 2017 by Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Ukraine Country Director and Sofiya Oshchebska, National Coordinator - Crowdfunding Academy, UNDP Ukraine

71 year-old Pavlo, blacksmith from Lugansk, opened his workshop in the Kharkiv region. Photo: UNDP Ukraine
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has not only disrupted everyday life in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk but also led to staggering unemployment. Out of 23 major enterprises in Luhansk region, 19 are currently not operating, while half of the enterprises in the Donetsk region have lost about 950,000 jobs. Supporting employment is challenging in the best of circumstances and far more so in conflict situations. How do you talk about the benefits of entrepreneurship to people who lost everything and, after being displaced, are just trying to find their place in a new community? At UNDP Ukraine’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, we have an ambitious goal: to promote entrepreneurship in Donbas, inspire people who worked all their life in mines and factories to step into the unsure path of entrepreneurship, and make them believe in themselves and their country again. So we decided to start by showing the joy of creating and developing your own business through the stories of ordinary people. Stories of people like us, who, despite all the difficulties, have succeeded. … Read more

The challenge: How can international co-operation help to put sustainable development at the core of business models?

18 Jul 2016 by Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning

Role of the private sector in Agenda 2030By helping to create decent jobs and build resilient infrastructure, the private sector can be a key partner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP photo
The private sector has always been an essential actor in development, credited with fostering wealth, innovation and jobs – and many a time blamed for negative externalities. So in this new era, what is different about the role and the responsibilities of the private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? It is different because sustainable development cannot be achieved without the active involvement of responsible businesses. The private sector will be essential in creating sustainable, productive and decent employment, economic prosperity, resilient infrastructure that underpins sustainable development, and innovations that create green growth and opportunities for all, especially the poor. … Read more

TICAD: The enduring relevance of a unique policy forum

05 Jul 2016 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP

Nairobi, Kenya will host the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) from 27 to 28 August 2016.
Less than 90 days separate us from the Sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) which will be held in Nairobi on 27 and 28 August 2016. TICAD VI is expected to draw more than 6000 participants from governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector organizations. What precisely is TICAD? It was instituted in 1993 to advocate for and foster international partnerships for African development under the joint leadership of Japan, the United Nations and then Global Coalition for Africa. … Read more

A legacy of private sector engagement in Africa

21 Jun 2016 by Tomas Sales, Special Advisor, Private Sector & African Facility for Inclusive Markets Unit, UNDP and Pascale Bonzom, Programme Specialist, Private Sector Unit, UNDP

More than 11,000 smallholder farmers benefit from support to develop regional agro-food value chains. Photo: UNDP
In the last 12 years, UNDP in Africa has invested into innovative programmes that produced encouraging results, incentives, and insights on how the private sector can contribute to inclusive growth through inclusive businesses and markets. UNDP’s long term goal in this area is to foster Africa’s capacity to produce and grow in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNDP Growing Sustainable Business (GSB) initiative built, from 2003 to 2011, multi-stakeholder partnerships to support businesses with a clear triple bottom line capable of impacting positively on profit, people and planet. Bionexx, for instance, a company based in Madagascar, managed to grow the production of artemisinin, a key ingredient in anti-malaria pills, from 0 to 12 metric tons using an outgrower network of close to 10,000 farmers through financial support and technical assistance to set-up the outgrower scheme – a clear success in terms of providing a guaranteed higher value market to smallholder farmers and increasing their income. … Read more