News & Views

The GCNA responds to the SDGs Senate Inquiry

Today, the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee released its full transcript from the hearings held on Friday, 2 November 2018 on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kylie Porter, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), participated in the Inquiry alongside other civil society, business association and academia colleagues.

Ms Porter provided evidence that highlighted how business is a key actor in sustainable development and achieving the SDGs – firstly, by acting responsibility and minimising and mitigating negative impacts on people and the environment; and secondly by seeking opportunities for positive impacts. Ms Porter highlighted that, through their commitment to, and engagement with, the UN Global Compact, members of the GCNA have been supporting and integrating the SDGs agenda for quite some time.

Examples of some of the activities undertaken by business include adopting human rights policies; collaborating with civil society and academia to find solutions for societal challenges; implementing supplier diversity policies and social procurement programs; fostering programmes that assist with building financial resilience; and releasing new finance mechanisms to spur investment into the SDGs. Other examples include incorporating the SDGs into Reconciliation Action Plans; future-proofing the Australian economy through investments in STEM education; and by working with universities to develop tools to assess digital exclusion. The GCNA is pleased to have a membership base that are leaders in recognising, implementing and promoting the SDGs.

Finally, Ms Porter highlighted the need for sound, long-term policy setting to encourage private sector investment in solutions that assist with achieving the SDGs. This may include Government considering its own partnering capacity and ability to explore opportunities to partner with business, including through initiatives to promote corporate responsibility and business engagement with the SDGs, like the GCNA.

With over 9,500 business signatories across 160 countries, the UN Global Compact has been tasked with operationalising the SDGs in business. The GCNA looks forward to continuing to work with Government, businesses, civil society, academia and other stakeholders to keep driving towards achieving the SDGs.

The full transcript is available here.