More and more Danish companies recognize the Sustainable Development Goals as levers for innovation, growth and better competitive performance. If we are to achieve the Goals by 2030, it is not a question of whether to involve the private sector in development or not. It is rather a question of how.
But how do we do that? This was the point of entry at the major SDG conference in Copenhagen on May 15, 2019 arranged by UNDP, the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish Industry Foundation.
On Wednesday, about 170 company representatives gathered in Copenhagen to discuss how to use the SDGs as a lever for innovation and growth.
The purpose of the conference was to give the participants the opportunity to dive into the methods, tools and ways in which they can work with the SDGss in their business, and let it serve as inspiration for their further work on the World Goals.
For the conference, UNDP shared experiences from the SDG Accelerator for SMEs programme implemented in Denmark in 2018 with 30 small and medium sized companies. Similarly, the Confederation of Danish Industry shared experiences from their SDG programme called "From Philanthropy to Business", both of which are supported by the Danish Industry Foundation.
For this, CEOs from participating companies at both programmes were invited. Niels Ingemann Møller from Ingemann Group, who participated in UNDP's SDG Accelerator for SMEs, presented their work in the project where they developed a software that can optimize crop yields with a detailed picture of soil, plant and climate conditions.
Hans Axel Kristensen from Plastix A/S, who is also one of the participating companies in SDG Accelerator for SMEs, talked about the importance of partnerships. Plastix is one of the only companies in the world to produce green plastic based on used fishing nets, trawls, ropes, and other plastic waste from the maritime industry. Plastix has invested more than 25 million euro over the last five years in a ground-breaking plant in Lemvig, through which the plastic waste is fractionated, divided, washed, dried and extruded into plastic raw materials - green plastic. The plant is just the first step towards building a whole new infrastructure that supports circular recycling of plastics - one of the world’s greatest resources but also environmental challenges in the coming decades.
Panel debate and workshops
The conference also featured a panel debate on how sustainable businesses can play a role in the society in which they operate. The panel consisted on Connie Hedegaard, Chair, CONCITO, Filippo Veglio, Managing Director, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Mauricio Graber, CEO, Chr. Hansen Holding A/S. The moderator for the whole day was Verner Kristiansen, Communications and International Development specialist.
The operational highlight of the conference was the four different workshops where the 170 company representatives participated. There was one workshop on how to use the SDGs as a driver for innovation, one on the SDGs as a lever for internationalization, one on the SDGs as a tool to attract talents, and lastly one on the SDGs and circular economy. UNDP and the SDG Accelerator team facilitated the workshop on how to use the SDGs as a driver for innovation.
One about the world goals as an engine of innovation, one about the world goals as a lever for internationalization, one about the world goals as a tool for attracting the right skills and one about the world goals and the circular economy. UNDP Denmark and SDG Accelerator provided the workshop on the World Goals as an innovation engine.