A New Way of Doing Business: Partnering for Sustainable Development and Peace

To meet the scale and ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the private sector will have to play a central role. The agenda provides a window of opportunity for the private sector, governments, the UN, and civil society to collaborate with each other through a new global partnership.

This report explores what is needed to make this new partnership a reality, including the steps that both the UN and the private sector need to take. It also seeks to understand how the private sector can contribute to achieving peace as both an enabler and an outcome of the 2030 Agenda. Finally, the report aims to address how to mitigate the risk companies face in investing in countries facing challenges in attracting private domestic and international investments.

The report offers a number of recommendations for the private sector, the UN, and governments to engage in new forms of collaboration:

  • To make the 2030 Agenda’s call for a new global partnership a reality, businesses should embed the SDGs across their supply chains and in their core business strategies and improve reporting. The UN, governments, and businesses should all deepen their engagement with each other and in particular with small and medium enterprises. Engagement of the private sector should be based on the recognition that investing in the 2030 Agenda is not only good for people and the planet; it can also improve bottom lines.
  • Businesses should take a sustaining peace approach to all operations and investments. They should assess not only how to avoid contributing to conflict but also how to support efforts to build and sustain peace, including by working closely with national governments, building trust with communities, engaging with local small and medium enterprises, and striving to be more inclusive in their own policies and practices.
  • Lack of resources is not the main challenge to financing the 2030 Agenda. Achieving the agenda requires expanding the scale of projects related to its implementation and reducing the risks for greater private sector engagement. The UN, governments, and businesses should partner to scale up investments in countries that need it most through innovative, long-term, self-sustaining funding models and a wider diversity of investors.