TURKONFED, TUSIAD and UNDP established a private sector-led Think-Do-Tank platform in Turkey, first of its kind in the world, to work for the United Nations’ universal call of Sustainable Development Goals. Named “Business for Goals”, the platform will be chaired by Ms. Ümit N. Boyner. Focusing on 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations ranging from poverty to climate change, from environment to gender equality, the Platform aspires to boost the contribution of businesses to sustainable development.

TURKONFED, TUSIAD and UNDP has taken action with the view that all actors in the society have a role for sustainable development, and established the “Business for Goals Platform”, the first-ever private sector-led Think-Do-Tank platform in the world. With Ms. Ümit N. Boyne assuming the role of Founding President of the Executive Board, the Platform will bring together private and public sectors as well as NGOs on the shared value of “sustainable development” and offer roadmaps to the private sector how to act as a solution partner in development.

The Platform will, for the next two years, engage in analyses on sectors to be designated. The aim is to start multi-stakeholder dialogues based on these analyses to formulate policy and strategy recommendations for private and public sectors and NGOs, guide in the implementation, and contribute to implementing solid programmes on the ground.

Focusing on 17 Sustainable Development Goals ranging from poverty to climate change, from crisis management to gender equality, the Platform aspires to boost the contribution of Turkish businesses to sustainable development while securing their long-term success.

The memorandum of understanding for the Platform established by a joint initiative of TURKONFED, TUSIAD and UNDP was signed in the meeting at Grand Hyatt Istanbul Hotel. Present at the meeting were Ms. Ümit N. Boyner, Founding President of the Executive Board of Business for Goals Platform; Mr. Erol Bilecik, President of TUSIAD; Mr. Orhan Turan, President of TURKONFED; Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Resident Representative ai. and Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator.

Beginning her speech with a reminder that while the world was living through the best times of human history, global inequality hit historic highs; Ms. Ümit Boyner, President of the Executive Board of Business for Goals Platform, noted that the world was facing a range of problems from gender inequality to environment, from justice and climate change to poverty and hunger.

“The United Nations member states addressed those problems and adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and cope with climate change by 2030. It is only 11 years before 2030; can we end hunger, ensure gender equality or stop climate change in the remaining 11 years?” asked Ms. Boyner and continued:

“While pessimistic on our global performance in the last four years; ‘yes’, we can still achieve the goals considering our available means. The most important aspect of the Global Goals is perhaps that it has highlighted the cooperation at national and international levels based on the motto that global problems require global solutions. Yes, we can achieve if we can inclusively involve all stakeholders including particularly governments, businesses, civil society and academia.”

Emphasising that Turkey is capable of swift adaptation and action by its young, dynamic population, and business community open to change, competitive and integrated into the global economy, and all of its institutions; Ms. Boyner said: “No goal is beyond reach if we come together. We have established the Business for Goals Platform exactly to enable such a joint action in Turkey. Bringing together over 40,000 member companies and 244 associations of TUSIAD and TURKONFED, and the broad global network of UNDP, this Platform also features the diversity of human resources, human capital and financial resources of all these entities. It will implement multi-partner programmes to enable more effective and efficient deployment of the resources of all companies which have to date undertaken corporate social responsibility and sustainability work selflessly and those which have so planned; and align such resources in the best way with the means provided by the public sector and civil society.”

Noting that Business for Goals Platform is a “Think-Do-Tank” organization focusing on sustainable development, first of its kind in the world created by an initiative of the private sector and the United Nations Development Programme, Ms. Boyner further elaborated:

“As known, think-tanks generate ideas and offers policy recommendations. Today however, think-tanks are also evolving. Now we are into the age of ‘Think-Do-Tank’. The Business for Goals Platform aspires to be a ‘Think-Do-Tank’ organisation which can translate ideas into effective action. Designed as a pioneer research and solution centre, the Platform will engage in work focusing on the UN’s 17 Goals ranging from poverty to climate change, from gender inequality to environmental problems. In the next two years, we will identify sectoral and regional needs of our country in the context of Sustainable Development Goals, while at the same time implement multi-partner public-private programmes through developing joint solution strategies with the private sector and stakeholders. That is, we will get to the ground to implement the ideas generated for the goals.”

Opportunity for a market of 12 trillion dollars

Recalling that the Sustainable Development Goals aimed to solve the root causes of poverty and create a development model benefiting all “leaving no one behind”, the President of Business for Goals Platform Ms. Boyner stated that the Goals also offered significant opportunities for businesses.

Ms. Boyner continued: “The report ‘Better Business, Better World’ reveals that a market of 12 trillion dollars will emerge by 2030 through investments where the business community leads the sustainability agenda. Such opportunities concentrate in agriculture and food, energy and health sectors which collectively constitute 60% of the global economy. Studies also show that companies acting on the Global Goals attract more investment globally. By the 2014 data, investors invested 6 trillion dollars solely in the United States, and 21.4 trillion dollars worldwide in the companies acting on the Sustainable Development Goals. These companies likewise benefit more from the national support schemes and international funds. UNDP’s private-sector-focused ‘Unchartered Waters’ report informs that action towards the Goals increases the financial values of such companies as well as offers many opportunities such as access to qualified human resources, stronger and sustainable supply chain, increased productivity and innovation. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals means a developed and prosperous Turkey and better liveable world for us all. For a colourful, developed, clean and equal world as the vision embodied in the goals, we will do our best in collaboration through the Platform that we as TURKONFED, TUSIAD and UNDP developed.”

The President of TUSIAD Mr. Erol Bilecik said in his speech: “As the business leaders, we know that our organisations do not merely consist of four walls. We are aware of our increased responsibilities and the potential of our impact area. We can unlock the locks of the Sustainable Development Agenda through new business models that we will develop with such value chain. We are establishing the Business for Goals Platform on a dream that the business world engages in collaboration with other stakeholders and become solution partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The President of TURKONFED Mr. Orhan Turan noted in his speech that the private sector, as a significant part of economic growth and employment, assumed the role of a leverage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the Platform. Mr. Turan continued: “Through the Platform, we will first mobilise the 40,000 member companies of TUSIAD and TURKONFED across Anatolia. We will develop integrated solutions to the problems through this Platform which is not only a development tool but will also be a development agent.”

Highlighting that the private sector became a development actor, no longer a mere development tool, the United Nations Turkey Resident Coordinator Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano pointed out that the Business for Goals Platform was born as a result of such remarkable change. Ms. Vojackova-Sollorano said: “Through the Platform, the private sector’s contribution to development will not be confined only to creating wealth and employment, transfer of technology and provision of goods and services; but will also include cooperation with the Government and development agencies for collective action towards achievement of sustainable development through core business and beyond.”

Mr. Claudio Tomasi, Resident Representative ai. of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Turkey, stressed that the Business for Goals Platform would provide the needed research data and high-quality guidance to responsible businesses committed to increasing their social, economic and environmental impact. Mr. Tomasi said: “The outputs by the Platform will secure the long-term success of enterprises as well as contribute significantly to development, prosperity and peace.”

Source: Business for Goals