Beyond the Business Case: The Strategic Role of the Private Sector in Transforming the Real Economy Towards an Inclusive, Green and Circular Future

Working Paper Date:
Category: Sustainable Development
Author: Sumi Han
Document Symbol: ST/ESA/2020/DWP/169
JEL Classification: F63, I11, O13, O18
Keywords: private sector, Sustainable development, food and agriculture, cities, energy, health, well-being
Working Paper File:
Research suggests that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can open up market opportunities worth USD 12 trillion in the four largest sectors that represent 60 per cent of real economy – food and agriculture; cities; energy and materials; and health and well-being. While the concept of the SDGs creating a win-win situation for all is growing increasingly trendy, further evidence needs to be accumulated to better chart the important discourse on the private sector’s engagement with the SDGs. To this end, this paper aims to shed light on three questions: (i) How is the private sector currently engaging with the SGDs in these sectors?; (ii) What are the key areas of opportunities in which companies can foster long-term value in support of sustainable development?; and (iii) What transformations are needed to enhance the contributions of the private sector? Noting the shift towards a more inclusive, green and circular future requires policy, institutional, technological and human capabilities and political will, this paper provides concrete policy recommendations on some of the first steps required to move towards such transformations.