SEATTLE, Washington – In 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General launched the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance. Various bodies within the UN will or already do work with companies in developing countries and the alliance. They seek to aid efforts to “unlock long-term finance and investment in sustainable development…; mobilize additional resources for countries and sectors most in need;…[and]align business practices with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The alliance is an aspect of a greater UN strategy on financing for sustainable development. This initiative includes a multitude of other partners including 30 companies and forums on financing for development. Of the groups that are members of the alliance, 13 are companies in developing countries. Some examples include India’s Infosys, Kenya’s Safaricom, Indonesia’s Sintesa Group, and Morocco’s Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes.
Infosys is an Indian conglomerate involved in IT, outsourcing and consulting. The company ranked third on the 2019 Forbes World’s Best Regarded Companies list. Infosys has social and governmental goals, as well as goals to reduce environmentally-harmful resource consumption. They have also worked to include disadvantaged groups such as women, the disabled and the LGBT community. Demonstrating their dedication to inclusion, they signed the UN’s LGBTI standards for business. Additionally, Infosys was able to implement about 670 applications that promoted many of the UN’s environmental decrees in their policies. As a result, the company won the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award.
The leading telecommunications provider in Kenya, Safaricom contributed 6.3% of the country’s GDP and reached 1,072 tons in collected e-waste in its fiscal year 2019. Since 2012, sustainability has been present in the company’s corporate strategy — at least nine of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) are directly part of its performance objectives. For example, Safaricom promotes SDG number three, good health and well-being, through its role in launching the health payments solution M-Tiba in 2016. This program allows Kenyans to better participate in healthcare and provides patients with lower incomes direct access to more affordable healthcare.
With a female CEO and over 100 years of existence, Sintesa Group is an Indonesian company with interests including consumer and industrial product development. While it is still a family business, it has the structure of professional management. The Sintesa Group is certified with the Economic Dividend for Gender Equality (EDGE) for contributing to SDG number five, which is promoting gender equality. The business group also has a program for urban food security with plans to create eco-tourism in special economic zones.
The co-chair of one of GISD’s three working groups, Working Group Two on realizing SDG-related investment opportunities in developing countries, Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes (LEMO) has four brands that produce water. A presentation with regard to the 23rd Conference of the Parties in Bonn, Germany includes LEMO’s Sustainable Development Strategy. Generally speaking, the strategy was comprised of eco-distribution and anti-deforestation initiatives. The former involves optimizing the transfers and distributions of their products and the latter the planting of trees and lavender.
Long-term investment in sustainable development offers benefits, not just to society but to business as well. In the food and land-use sector alone, reforms could enable business opportunities to develop to an estimated $4.5 trillion a year by 2030.
There is less than a decade until 2030, the year by which Heads of State and Government and High Representatives committed stated they would fully accomplish the SDGs. Companies in developing countries have contributed to the SDGs. Others can as well.
– Kylar Cade