Davos study finds $12 trillion can be unlocked by developing UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The study finds that reducing food wastage and carbon trading alone could reap in $405 billion globally.

Going by a study done by global leaders in business and finance, by implementing a few key developments goals, companies across the globe could potentially unlock $12 trillion in market opportunities and create 380 million jobs by 2030.

The report which was released by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, stated that it is likely that businesses will face increasing pressure to become a more “responsible social actor”.

The group, Business and Sustainable Development Commission, was launched at the Davos 2016 World Economic Forum to encourage more businesses to take more proactive measures for developing sustainable solutions and reduce poverty.

Its distinguished list of members include, environmentalists, academics, chief executives of MNCs, including, Pearson, Edelman, Merck, Aviva, Investec, Alibaba, Abraaj and Safaricom along with philanthropists and trade union leaders.

Their study highlighted the need for businesses to play a proactive role in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty and help protect the planet.

“Achieving the global goals opens up an economic prize of at least $12 trillion by 2030 for the private sector and potentially 2-3 times more,” said the study.

It went on to say, the results of this economic endeavour could be achieved by targeting just 4 specific areas such as agriculture, cities, energy, and health.

According to the study, the figure of $12 trillion is arrived by computing the potential revenue gains and business savings, which would be equivalent to a tenth of the forecast of the global economic output.

Of the new jobs that will be created, 90% will be in the developing world.

Opportunities include measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Mark Malloch-Brown, chairman of the Commission.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed man-made climate change as a hoax.

“In many cases the horse has already left the stable,” said Brown referring to a shift to a greener economy which is under way in many parts of the world. This shift is driven by concerns over rising temperatures and falling prices in renewable energies.

While noting that progress has been slow, the study pointed out that businesses were still balking at long-term investments and instead preferred to either sit on their cash reserves or plough them back via dividends and share buybacks.

In September 2015, 17 SDGs were adopted by countries across the globe, the target of which includes, clean water, climate, gender equality and economic inequality.

Of late, clean water, economic and gender equality has come into prominence especially in the west, in the wake of corporate tax evasions, stagnant wages, and high CEO salaries.

“We anticipate much greater pressure on business to prove itself a responsible social actor, creating good, properly paid jobs in its supply chains as well as in its factories and offices,” stated the report while adding that transparency in paying taxes is key to rebuilding the social contract.

Other positive steps that are essentially low hanging fruits, is pricing pollution vide carbon trading and reducing food wastage. The sum of these two steps alone could be worth upto $405 billion.

However, as per the study, in order to benefit from the $12 trillion, companies have to invest $2.4 trillion, especially in infrastructure.

For this purpose the study has recommended “innovative financing” from the public and private sectors since “The global finance system needs to become much better at deploying the trillions of dollars of savings into the sustainable investments that … the world needs.”

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Categories: Creativity, Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Strategy, Sustainability

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