Sustainable Development as an Economic Opportunity

SDG’s are the fundamental cornerstone for securing future economic and business growth by eradicating poverty in an inclusive way, all the while protecting the environment.

The private sector is not only a source of financing, but is also an actor in development. Its role, especially when motivated by long-term sustainability interests, lies in core operations and the wide impact of business, and relates directly to UN values, poverty eradication and the spectrum of issue areas covered by the SDGs. This dynamic role as a driver of sustainable economic growth brings with it opportunities in value creation as well as important responsibilities for businesses as a driver of sustainable economic growth.

In the Pacific, businesses have the unique opportunity to embrace the SDG agenda and recognize it as a driver of business strategies, innovation and investment decisions. Doing so makes business sense and will give them an edge over their competitors– especially if their competitors have not followed suit.

The SDGs offer great economic opportunities. With an estimated investment of $2-3 trillion a year, the potential value that can be unlocked for Pacific Islands is important. In some sectors it is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions, and even more in others.

Impact on Business

Improve Profitability with Cost Savings

  • Reduce energy and other resource usage and costs.
  • Recycle and minimize waste.
  • Optimize the supply chain.
  • Take advantage of rebates and incentives, financial and otherwise, if made available by the government or donors.
  • Use effective remote collaboration technologies to minimize expensive business travel.

Capitalize on Competitive Advantage

  • Attract new green consumers and open new markets.
  • Garner interest from the investment community.
  • Outperform competitors.
  • Improve company reputation and brand image.
  • Enhance customer, supplier, vendor and other stakeholder perceptions.
  • Certify as a green business.
  • Create innovative, environmentally focused products and services.

Retain and Attract Top Talent

  • Increase productivity.
  • Recruit top talent.
  • Improve employee morale and retention.
  • Promote a healthier and safer work environment.

Make the World a Safer and Healthier Place

  • Reduce environmental impacts.
  • Practice corporate social responsibility.
  • Build community goodwill.

Mitigate Risk

  • Meet legal requirements.
  • Address new supplier and vendor environmental requirements.
  • Engage stakeholders proactively.

Anticipated Outcomes

Estimates of the costs of inaction have gone up, while those of action have decreased, mainly due to lower technology costs. Significant co-benefits can be reaped in transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

As for anticipated outcomes, this regional approach can break down global challenges, promote local solutions and enhance the ongoing national effort to implement ambitious climate change actions. It aims to help raise climate ambitions and localizing SDGs implementation by tapping into subnational networks targeting private sector, and maybe address the harmonization of carbon pricing initiatives and possible linking of markets.

It is expected that strengthening private sector partners will help achieving public sector and whole-of-society development goals.

Outcomes also target transformative change and paradigm shift towards green growth in the Pacific.