11 Jan 2019

Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano Launch of Business for Goals Platform in Turkey

Excellencies, distinguished media representatives, partners, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the UN System in Turkey, a warm welcome.

I’m very pleased to witness today, which is a milestone in institutionalizing the numerous efforts of the private sector to authenticate its role in helping achieve the SDGs. We are here with the ambition to launch the Business for Goals Platform, which, I believe, will empower businesses and the stakeholder community with the knowledge, tools and other support to authenticate their contributions to achieving the SDGs through inclusive business models.

We all know that achieving the SDGs means achievement of a more sustainable, equitable, and ultimately more prosperous world for everyone. Private sector is the significant upholder of growth and development. They are the essential providers of goods and services that people are in need. Businesses also have the opportunity to address constraints faced by marginalized groups, including refugees, such as through inclusive business models, innovative products and/or services that better meet the needs of such groups.

In addition, the SDGs present significant opportunities for the private sector to open up new market opportunities and attract new private investments in sustainable development by leveraging companies’ core competencies, expertise and resources.

Many leading companies are already using the SDGs to help them develop new inclusive and sustainable opportunities. However, barriers such as lack of information, and lack of systematic public-private sector collaboration is currently preventing more businesses from responding to the Global Goals.

As businesses rethink their strategies and cope with how they need to change their organizations to thrive and grow in today’s world, UNDP, TUSIAD and TURKONFED joined forces to enable the Business for Goals Platform to support the businesses in that endeavor.

The SDGs set out a substantial role for the private sector and assume its ability to support sustainable development agenda. Specifically, SDG 17 calls for reinforced means of strategized partnerships for sustainable development, with a strong upholding towards a shift to a new development paradigm: one in which the private sector is no longer only a development tool but rather a development agent.

Beyond income, businesses can influence other dimensions of poverty (SDG 1) and discrimination, such as limited opportunities and capabilities. These inter-linked dimensions include food/nutrition insecurity (SDG 2), lack of access to basic, quality services such as healthcare (SDG 3), education (SDG 4), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable clean energy (SDG 7) and low empowerment (SDG 10) and personal security (SDG 16). Instituting non-discriminatory practices (SDG 5) and embracing diversity and inclusion will also lead to greater access to skilled, productive talent. Decent work opportunities (SDG 8) help companies lower risk of reputational damage and legal liability. By committing to sustainable industrialization (SDG 9), and responsible production (SDG 12), businesses can contribute to development efforts in the regions in which they operate through upgrading local infrastructure, investing in resilient energy and communications technologies, and making these technologies available to all people, including marginalized groups, who might not have access otherwise. Companies can also contribute to SDGs 13, 14 and 15 by measuring, managing and mitigating their impact and dependence on water, land and ecosystems and decarbonizing their operations and supply chains through continuously improving energy efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint of their products, services and processes, and setting ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with climate science, as well as scaling up investment in the development of innovative low-carbon products and services.

Let me conclude by saying that this is an inspiring foundation on which we can build, working to deepen the partnership between UN and the private sector as we respond to development challenges in and outside of Turkey.

The Business for Goals will help business and all of us working in development know how businesses can use the SDGs to manage long-term risks and find opportunities to grow and develop highly competitive businesses while generating the significant societal and environmental benefits.

With the Business for Goals, we have consensus on where we should go together. It’s not just the private sector, but includes governments, academia, non-governmental organizations and the other stakeholders, who will benefit from the services of the Platform and have opportunities to contribute to. I invite you to all to be part of this important movement and be active members of the partnerships we jointly forge and, most of all, support and contribute to the values and solutions we will offer.

I would like to share my sincere gratefulness to our partners, TUSIAD and TURKONFED for their shared interest and willingness to continue their support to sustainable development agenda and joining their forces for the creation of Business for Goals Platform and many thanks to you all for joining us to celebrate this important day.