SMEs Align with SDGs, Tool Helps Companies Achieve SDG 5
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Eco-Business and the Business Council for Sustainable Development Singapore convened an event to explore how companies can align their operations with the SDGs and what the SDGs mean for SMEs in Asia.

The UN Global Compact, UN Women and partners developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool, which will allow to measure progress over time, benchmark against peers and industry standards, and contribute to SDG 5 on gender equality.

7 June 2017: Companies are continuing to explore ways to align their business strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can contribute to the SDGs, and how companies can improve gender equality in their operations.

Eco-Business and the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Singapore convened an event on 7 June 2017, in Singapore, to explore how companies can align their operations with the SDGs and what the SDGs mean for SMEs in Asia. Participants stressed that smaller businesses account for more than 97% of businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, and can be a necessary source of innovation to achieve the SDGs. They noted difficulties, however, in persuading SMEs to align with the SDGs without government involvement, such as a regulatory framework to guide decision-making. Discussions also highlighted the need to incorporate natural and social capital in decision-making processes and the utility of the Natural Capital Protocol in this regard, and the need to improve production process standards and efficiency.

Peter White, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), explained that pursuing sustainable and inclusive business models can help unlock US$12 trillion dollars annually in business opportunities and create more than 380 million jobs by 2030. He also underscored the need for collaboration with governments, and for companies to show traceability and transparency in sourcing, and suggested requiring suppliers to report their annual energy use, waste, carbon emissions and water consumption, with an expected annual improvement.

On gender equality in business’ operations, the UN Global Compact, UN Women and partners developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool (WEPs Tool), launched in March 2017. The WEPs Tool aims to help companies assess current policies and programmes, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and highlight opportunities to set future corporate goals and targets to improve their gender equality performance in the workplace, marketplace and community at large. It will enable companies to learn about best practices on gender equality globally; measure progress over time; benchmark against peers and industry standards; and contribute to SDG 5 (gender equality). The tool was developed in consultation with more than 170 companies. [Eco-Business Press Release] [WEPs Tool]

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