Achieving the Global Goals by Investing in Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Scott Jackson April 20, 2016 Employee Engagement

This week we welcome Scott Jackson, the president and CEO of Global Impact to share his latest insights on the Sustainable Development Goals. 


Just last year, the United Nations finalized the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a group of objectives that will continue the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) journey to make the world a better place.

WorldVision_9_2015The global goals for sustainable development were ratified in September as part of the United Nations’ annual meeting by 193 member states. Building on the MDGs, the SDGs were established following the largest multiple stakeholder consultation processes of its kind in order to involve all countries and groups in their creation.

With the SDGs’ target areas ranging from ending poverty to achieving universally accessible healthcare, the goals are attainable but challenging. The success of these goals will take a coordinated effort from many groups, perhaps most especially from the nonprofit and the private sectors.


How Nonprofits are Doing Their Part

The Sustainable Development Goals already align with the robust work being done by many NPOs. Charities like Heifer International, UNICEF and Save the Children have programs that fall under many of
the SDGs, such as Zero Hunger (two), and Gender Equality (five). The SDGs address three global challenges: poverty, injustice and the environment; focal points that are reflected within many charities’ missions and endeavors. With this connection between them, the SDGs provide a unique framework for non-governmental organizations and charities, just as they do for governments.

Cambodia: EducationNonprofits themselves offer invaluable support to the goals, as well. One of the biggest questions surrounding the SDGs is “how will these goals be enforced across so many countries?” In truth, they’re already being implemented through the work nonprofits are currently doing, often in some of the most remote places of the world. Without this foundation of support, the SDGs likely wouldn’t succeed. Through utilizing this channel, however, success becomes much more attainable.

Nonprofits certainly work well with the SDGs, but what about the private sector? The importance of corporations in the success of the SDGs has been established, but the question still remains—why should a corporation care, and how can they get involved?


The Role of Corporations for the Global Goals


Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs are much more business-oriented and can both boost business outcomes, and benefit from corporate support. According to a U.N. report, “In addition to eliminating poverty, the new framework will need to address the drivers of change, such as economic growth, job creation, reduced inequality and innovation that makes better and more careful use of natural resources. Industry plays a prominent role in advancing all these drivers.”

The sector’s international reach and practices can be used to enact real change and innovation. Corporations can tap developing regions to spur sustainable economic growth, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and champion peace and gender equality.

The private sector can also:

  • align corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies with the SDGs
  • encourage skills-based and pro bono volunteering for SDG progress among employees
  • include global causes in giving programs
  • and raise awareness of the SDGs and efforts to achieve them among staff and the public


In addition to these avenues, the SDGs will need financial support. The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development has estimated that if the goals are to be successful, they will require between $3.3 and $4.5 trillion in annual funding in the developing world alone. At the current funding level from both the public and private sectors, there is still a gap that needs to be filled. However, we can’t do that without investment from the private sector and private philanthropy in general. Without their assistance, the SDGs cannot succeed.


The Importance of Collaboration: IMPACT 2030

Photo credit: Sumaya Agha / Mercy Corps

With these facts in mind, it’s easy to see how the corporate sector will play a big role in achieving the SDGs by 2030. In order to help take advantage of what the sector has to offer, a collaboration of international leaders from various groups—the United Nations, the private sector, nonprofits, governments and academic institutions—was formed. Called IMPACT 2030, this group of individuals will strive over the next 15 years to use investments and overall corporate engagement to ensure the success of the SDGs. With founding partners such as Google and IBM, IMPACT 2030 will leverage corporate and employee engagement to make sure that we do all that we can to achieved the SDGs by 2030.

In addition to having the support of IMPACT 2030, corporations can also leverage CSR platforms like YourCause, which strives to better connect businesses to the work they’re doing with the Global Goals. YourCause helps companies track their progress and align their efforts with the SDG framework.

Achieving the SDGs would mean a safer, cleaner, more peaceful world for all, but that success will require commitment and coordination from a wide variety of groups. That’s why Global Impact is looking forward to working with YourCause and others to help boost corporate involvement toward the success of the SDGs.

While the next 15 years will bring challenges, with support from nonprofits, corporations, and groups like IMPACT 2030, we will inevitably overcome these hurdles and meet these goals.



Photo Credit
Girl: Narges Ghafary / World Vision
Boy – Kj Borja / Save the Children
Children – Eva-Lotta Jansson / Oxfam America
Woman – Sumaya Agha / Mercy Corps