Companies Backing Sustainable Development In Open Letter To PM

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The House of Commons and Big Ben, London

84 leading companies including Diageo, HSBC, Ikea and Unilever have united in a call on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals* (SDGs) in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting taking place on 17-20 January, businesses say they are ready to work with the Government to help deliver the SDGs in the UK as well as internationally, but that the Government must create a framework to help businesses play their part.

The letter is published on the day that the Business and Sustainable Development Commission publishes its own flagship report on the business case for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, and quantifying the value of private sector opportunities aligned with the SDGs.

Today’s great companies don’t just want to contribute, they’re ready to collaborate

Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly, commented:

“It’s easy to be sceptical about the role of business in society – to castigate failure when things go wrong rather than celebrate success. But in truth is there is no business case for enduring inequality. It’s bad for society and bad for business too. Today’s great companies don’t just want to contribute. They’re ready to collaborate and build a powerful coalition for change but need the support of government and citizens to help unlock society’s true potential. This open letter is an emphatic demonstration of a desire to work in partnership using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for success. U.K. Government should seize this opportunity to work with business to help shape an inclusive community action plan that works for all.”

Juliet Davenport, Founder and CEO of Good Energy, commented:

“The challenges of achieving sustainability are complex and intertwined. Tackling them takes a cross-sector, multidisciplinary and co-ordinated approach. The Sustainable Development Goals give us a universal framework to ensure that everyone committed to sustainability is singing from the same hymn sheet. They’re not about overseas development; they’re about sustainability everywhere. And to give the SDGs their best chance of success in the UK, we need a clear and concrete demonstration from Government that it has embraced the Goals.”

The letter was co-ordinated by UK Stakeholders in Sustainable Development (UKSSD), a non-profit network of businesses, NGOs and academics working to advance sustainable development and help facilitate the delivery of the SDGs in the UK.

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive for WWF-UK, commented:

“It’s good business to be fit for the future and consider long-term prosperity alongside the well-being of generations to come. Our current business models too often plunder and pollute the world’s natural resources with devastating consequences for our planet. From increasingly severe weather patterns to the dramatic bleaching of coral reefs and the destruction of rainforests, the need to protect our planet and its people is more urgent than ever before. By developing more sustainably, the UK can play an important international leadership role – and UK businesses are natural leaders.

This letter to the Prime Minister is a clear signal that businesses stand ready to play their part. It is time for the Government to heed this call and set out a strong plan that Ministers can translate into action. If governments and businesses work together to achieve the SDGs, they have the power to transform our world and deliver a future in which people and nature thrive.”