Dear Presidents of TUSIAD and TURKONFED, Mr. Turan and Mr. Bilecik; the Chairperson of Business for Goals Platform, Ms. Boyner; distinguished media representatives and guests; ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor to be here today.
Globalization is an inevitable phenomenon that’s been bringing the world closer through the exchange of goods and products, information, knowledge and culture. Over the last few decades, the pace of this global integration has become much faster and more dramatic because of unprecedented advancements in information and communications technologies and logistics, as well as increasingly freed movements of capital, investments and goods.
As more people are integrated to economic life, there is an observed increase in demand for goods and services, which are being targeted by businesses. Private sector is very critical to drive economic growth, create the much needed jobs, develop and deliver goods and services that target the poor part of the population and innovate for more sustainable development solutions. Inclusion of poor people to economy as consumers and producers has a great impact on human development.
History showed us that economic growth by itself does not seem to reduce poverty across all countries. Growth needs to be inclusive. Businesses are reminded of this situation not only by their analysts and consultants, but also increasingly by the society around them.
There are numerous studies pointing to the fact that companies which have an inclusive and responsible business strategy are financially more successful than others. In other words, inclusive and responsible investing can result in reduced negative environmental impact, improved social benefits, and increased financial returns. It may help companies reduce their costs and risks; strengthen legitimacy and reputation; increase employee and customer loyalty; build competitive advantage; and create win–win situations through synergistic value creation.
The costs and risks can be reduced by realizing tax beneﬁts, avoiding strict regulation and lowering the risk of opposition by the stakeholders. Companies can strengthen their legitimacy and reputation by demonstrating that it can meet the competing needs of its stakeholders and at the same time operate proﬁtably. By adopting certain sustainability activities, a company may be able to build strong relationships with its stakeholders and garner their support in the form of lower levels of employee turnover, access to a higher talent pool, and customer loyalty. Accordingly, the ﬁrm will be able to differentiate itself from its competitors.
The evolution of sustainable development agenda has been in favor of increasing the accumulated positive impact, while strengthening the linkage of the social investment with the core operations of the businesses.
In the first phase charity and philanthropy were the main drivers. Culture, religion, values and traditions had an influential effect. Usually the donations, which addressed short term needs, were not related to the core operations of the businesses and the return was low.
In the second phase, businesses have preferred developing Corporate Social Responsibility projects, by engaging in partnerships with NGOs, Government and academia to increase the synergies among partners to achieve greater results. In such case of partnerships, businesses join the partnership by sharing their know-how and technologies and allocating their financial and human resources to match with others’ contributions for the effective management of partnership projects.
At the maturity level, companies, in close collaboration with their stakeholders, are integrating social, environmental and economic concerns into their business processes and core strategy. The aim is both to prevent negative impacts and also to enhance positive impacts, for example through pro-poor sourcing and recruitments, developing innovative and affordable products and services that address the needs of disadvantaged populations, reducing the environmental footprint etc.
Much of the work of the United Nations is relevant to the private sector: promoting peace and security, providing norms and standards in such diverse areas as trade laws, shipping, aviation, telecommunication, postal services and statistics; addressing issues of vulnerability, poverty, environmental degradation and social conflict.
All of this is seen as helping provide a stable and favorable framework for business and development. Strategic engagement with the private sector and other stakeholders is therefore sine qua non for the United Nations in advancing developmental goals especially in the context of building markets, combating corruption, safeguarding the environment, increasing food security and ensuring social inclusion.
The concept for the Business for Goals Platform is built on this paradigm collectively by UNDP/Turkey, TUSIAD and TURKONFED. The initiative aims to leverage the effective role of the private sector in development to maximize their contribution to the achievement of the Global Goals in a strategized way.
The Platform will act as one stop shop service delivery center through research, policy advisory and advocacy, knowledge development and management, SDGs-based public-private partnerships, programme support and capacity development.
Acknowledging all the challenges and potential, we focus on how the private sector and markets can contribute to economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable human development through a new “Platform way of working” approach, with the prospect to create better outcomes at the highest level of efficiency.
By establishing and running a platform based model to increase private sector’s role in SDGs, it is aimed to orchestrate diverse resources to produce common value. For the private sector, working in a platform way will result in massive reduction in costs/barriers to conduct sector specific research and ease the process of co-creating novel ideas and concepts with stakeholders.
UNDP is proudly engaged in this partnership to work with the Private Sector constructively in supporting national and local efforts to address development challenges, particularly in the framework of the SDGs. We promise to combine the best competencies of UNDP, such as field experience, moral authority and convening power, with the private sector’s resources, know-how and the expertise, and capacities of other key stakeholders.
I believe the Business for Goals Platform will be an important instrument in Turkey to create both social and business impact, which cultivate a healthier growing economy.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to business leaders, especially Ms. Boyner, Mr. Turan, Mr. Bilecik and the members of the executive board, for their substantial leadership and high commitment to take the sustainable development agenda forward in Turkey by mainstreaming SDGs with private sector’s inclusive and responsible business strategies for the achievement of a better future for all.