What’s concerning us : Part 2. UN SDG 8 – Work and Growth

This is the second in a series of articles on what is concerning us. We have widened the title scope from “investors” to “us” given we are all stakeholders in the outcomes.  In each article we concentrate on major issues that companies can positively impact. The United Nations Sustainability Goals “UN SDGs” provide the Framework that Giddy Up has adopted to assist companies meet their Social License to Operate. In our first article we addressed Reducing Inequalities. This time its Work and Growth.

Impact Hub report – major program areas

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Decent work and economic growth is a high scoring development goal adopted in all regions and most notably in the developing world. 

Goal 8:  Decent work and economic growth

The UN records that “Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7% and having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty…

Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.

There needs to be increased access to financial services to manage incomes, accumulate assets and make productive investments. Increased commitments to trade, banking and agriculture infrastructure will also help increase productivity and reduce unemployment levels in the world’s most impoverished regions”.

The UN has a global outlook, but our selection of the measures (identified in bullet point below) that it adopts to test progress by 2030 also have domestic application.

  • Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries

  • Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead

  • Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms

Support for improving domestic economic performance can be paired with international initiative. Examples of this are more fully explored in the next section.

New Zealand examples

Beverage company Karma Cola purchases cola nuts at a fair price and has created a foundation to help the 2000 people in Boma village, Sierra Leone, and the surrounding area.

Six cents from every bottle of Karma Cola is channeled into the Karma Cola Foundation with the money raised so far used to build a bridge, send girls to school, create HIV/AIDS education programmes, rehabilitate forest farms, buy a rice huller and develop a seed bank – all projects decided by the villagers. 1

Ngati Whatua Whai Maia CEO Rangimarie Hunia, and Debbie Birch Chair of TMG Limited Taupo share in the Pure Advantage video series how [for Iwi] assessment of an economic opportunity cannot be segregated from environmental and social good impact.

In the same video series Bill Ginn from the Nature Conservancy relates that good business develops both an economic and social return and without either it is inherently unsustainable. 2

Conclusion

Business needs to broaden its Purpose in a conversation with its stakeholders. Considered alignment with the community is a win-win opportunity that awaits those with the insight and tenacity.

References

 1.       https://www.giddyup.net.nz/insights/2018/1/23/profile-karma-cola

2.       https://pureadvantage.org/news/ftf/financing-the-future/

InsightsBrian Steele