Companies in Japan, Kenya and the US have showcased their efforts to align their business goals with the SDGs and integrate the SDGs into their strategies and plans.
Other private sector initiatives focus on sustainable infrastructure, inclusive business models, and identification of impact investor characteristics.
August 2017: Companies are continuing to announce plans to align their business goals with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to integrate the SDGs into their strategies and plans. Companies in Japan, Kenya and the US have adopted practices to promote sustainability. A Danish pension fund is promoting sustainable infrastructure investment. Other recent private sector contributions include reports on inclusive business models and impact investing.
In Japan, Sumitomo Chemical introduced an in-house certification programme for products and technologies that contribute to achieving the SDGs. Twenty-one products have already been certified, including a component for enhancing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, to support achievement of SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (climate action). Fuji Xerox launched an international resources recycling system in line with SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), establishing centers for recovering and recycling its products and ensuring that all materials used in machines will be reused or burned to extract heat. Fuji Xerox reports its product recycling rates are close to 100%. [News Story on Public and Private Sector Actions in Japan]
Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced sustainability goals for the year 2050, including the development of medium-term business plans based on environmental, economic and societal considerations. The company hopes to achieve net-zero emissions, ensure well-being for all and transition to a circular economy by 2050 through several actions. These actions include: increasing adaptability and resilience; ensuring businesses engage in regenerative value creation; promoting co-innovation with stakeholders; and establishing performance indicators to evaluate the achievement of its sustainability goals. Yokogawa, which has a global network of 113 companies across 60 countries, works in industrial automation and control, test and measurement, and aviation. [Yokogawa Press Release] [Yokogawa Sustainability Policy]
In Kenya, UN Environment has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the mobile network operator Safaricom, which aims to accelerate SDG implementation. The MoU will facilitate collaboration and implementation of activities and projects that contribute to selected SDGs, including SDG 7, SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). [UN Environment News Story][SDG Knowledge Hub story on UN Environment Private Sector Partnerships]
In the US, Target’s 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report indicates that Target has directly and indirectly impacted each of the SDGs. Target reports that it has exceeded its initial goals on increasing organic food offerings, making more sustainable packaging designs, achieving Energy Star certification for its buildings, reducing water use, and diverting retail waste. Target has also signed a Virtual Power Purchase agreement with Stephen’s Ranch Wind Farm in Texas to power approximately 60 stores. The company has also announced a chemical strategy, focusing on increasing transparency and ensuring proactive chemical management and innovation across Target’s products. Going forward, Target states its intention to focus on the Goals where it can make the most significant contributions. [Target News Story] [Target’s 2016 CSR Report]
A Danish pension fund has launched the Africa Infrastructure Fund I, which aims to support sustainable economic growth and the SDGs in Africa, while also delivering returns to investors.
On sustainable infrastructure, Danish company A.P. Moeller Holding, along with Danish pension funds PensionDanmark, PKA and Lægernes Pension, have launched Africa Infrastructure Fund I, which will focus on infrastructure investment in transportation and energy. The companies have committed US$550 million to the Fund, which aims to support sustainable economic growth and the SDGs in Africa, while also delivering returns to investors. PensionDanmark is already invested in Africa in farmland, sustainable farming projects, and renewable energy infrastructure projects. The Fund has a targeted lifetime of 10 years and aims to have a total capital commitment of US$1 billion. [News Story on Danish Companies Launching Africa Fund]
On inclusive business, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development and the Business Call to Action (BCTA) have published a case study on inclusive business in the Philippines, titled ‘Scaling Inclusive Business Models at the Nexus of Poverty and Environment.’ To maximize the potential of inclusive business models to achieve social and environmental impact and contribute to the SDGs, the report presents several recommendations for companies. These include: identifying stakeholders and cultivating partnerships, including with local governments; establishing farmer champions to demonstrate the value of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection; and fostering research on ecosystem dynamics and services within the company. For governments, the report recommends, inter alia: including companies with inclusive business models in public-sector support programmes for smallholder farmers; establishing inclusive business accreditation to identify companies with such models; and reinforcing national initiatives to align resources and financing across the agricultural, agroforestry and fisheries sectors. [Publication: Scaling Inclusive Business Models at the Nexus of Poverty and Environment]
On impact investing, Investorflow has published a report titled, ‘Who, What, Where and How: The First 205 Investors.’ The report seeks to answer the following about impact investors: who are they; where do they live; where, in what sectors and at what stage do they invest; and what investment structures do they use. The report is based on the profiles of the first 205 investors in the investorflow.org network, an online network where impact investors can learn about deals that fit their interests. The study affirms that impact investing is relatively new, with most investors and impact fund managers having only one to five years experience with such investing. [Publication: The First 205 Investors’ Report] [Investorflow.org Network]