UN Sustainable Development Goals: International Compass for Politics and Industry

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By adopting Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations introduce a compass for sustainable policy action. They apply equally to industrialised and developing countries. German industry can make a major contribution to the implementation of the SDGs. A political framework that avoids weakening competitiveness is required.

Last fall, the United Nations formulated what many insiders call a “pact for the future” designed to create a compass for future political and economic activity. The “Agenda 2030” formulates 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be implemented by all member states. The SDGs aim to tackle – and perhaps even resolve – the conflicting goals between economic, ecological, and social aspects of sustainable development. Other than in previous times, in particular when considering the Millennium Development Goals, industrialised and developing countries alike have agreed to implement the SDGs.

Industry can contribute

With the United Nations estimating that three trillion euros per year will be needed to implement the Agenda 2030 worldwide, a major private-sector contribution will be needed. BDI stands ready to promote the implementation of the SDGs. German industry takes its responsibility for meeting global challenges very seriously and contributes to sustainable development – for example through innovative technological solutions for environmental and security problems. Sustainability and innovation are closely interlinked on the road to an economically healthy, resource-efficient, and nature-friendly society.

In order for German companies to be able to help, they will have to remain strong and competitive enough to make their contribution. Politics must not overburden industry. New indicators in the German sustainability strategy and new targets and limits in environmental legislation are not an end in themselves. Their effects on business and international competitiveness must be carefully scrutinised. It is therefore right to avoid additional burdens for German industry when implementing the sustainability goals, and to ensure that Germany’s competitiveness is maintained and strengthened.

Political framework required

The primary political task is to create a framework that enables and secures investments through good governance, security, capable administration, anti-corruption measures, and the enforcement of tax legislation. In such a framework, German industry will be able to make its contribution to a successful implementation of the SDGs.