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Why Business Should Care about Sustainable Development Goals

on . Posted in ISO 14001

3 Reasons to Care

First - They represent a growth opportunity for companies: consumers in emerging and frontier markets could be worth $30 trillion by 2025, up from $12 trillion in 2010. "Taking action on the global goals could help address several of these obstacles that are giving rise to 'trapped value' in the emerging markets," Chakravorti writes.

Second - Competitive pressure to help with the goals is likely and companies could gain a first-mover advantage by positioning themselves as environmental management leaders. Microsoft's approach, for example, starts with linking them to the company's mission, says Dan Bross, senior director of corporate citizenship at Microsoft. On the flip side, being slow to take action puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Third - Chakravorti says, with their $3-tillion-per-year price tag, the SDGS "cannot be realized without business participation."

'Smart Risk Management'

Yes, these reforms have costs and by investing in corporate sustainability programs may increase costs in the short-term, says Klaus Leisinger, president of the Foundation Global Values Alliance and professor of sociology at the University of Basel, Switzerland. But, Leisinger adds, companies — especially large, multi-nationals — have a major role in implementing their Environmental Management System.

"Competing with integrity is smart risk management," he writes. "Acting against global societal interests results in reputational damage, law cases, penalties and more regulation — as banks around the world and Volkswagen are finding out."

EMS and Everyday Work

Goal 12, aims to "ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns" by "encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste" and "supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030."

Han says the packaging industry can encourage sustainable production and consumption by "reducing unnecessary packaging and designing for sustainable end-of-life disposal options. This can take on a number of forms, ranging from designing for compostability, using widely recyclable materials, incorporating more recycled content, creating producer take-back programs, and encouraging packaging reuse or repurposing."