More than a year has passed since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the new development agenda that sets out a shared vision of what we would like the planet to look like in 2030. This agenda represents a paradigm shift in which all of the actors—including private companies—assume responsibility for advancing sustainable social, economic and environmental development and embrace the opportunities offered by the new mindset.
Yesterday in Madrid, a debate entitled “The Sustainable Development Agenda in Spain” was held to discuss the precise role of the private sector in this new development agenda. The event was organised by the Global Compact Network Spain and the Spanish Group for Green Growth, in collaboration with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the “la Caixa” Foundation. In the course of the day-long debate, the participants discussed the commitment of the Spanish private sector to the new development agenda.
“When the Millennium Development Goals were adopted in 2000, they focused on the responsibility of governments and non-profit organisations. Today, the 2030 Agenda is being led by the private sector,” commented Leire Pajín, Director of International Development at ISGlobal, in response to a comment by Isabel Garro, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Spain, who noted that “the Sustainable Development Goals are being taken into account in the business strategies of 97% of the IBEX 35 companies”.
According to the Global Compact report Empresas españolas y ODS: Oportunidades y desafíos [Spanish companies and the SDGs: opportunities and challenges], the Sustainable Development Goals are a business opportunity. However, they are also a responsibility. The ISGlobal report The Role of the Private Sector in Fostering International Development, by Katinka C. van Cranenburgh, outlines the responsibilities and obligations of companies that operate in developing markets, as well as the responsibilities imposed on businesses by the Sustainable Development Goals.