Poverty, Hunger, Illness, Illiteracy, Gender Discrimination, Poor Sanitation, Energy Shortages, Unemployment, Shoddy Infrastructure, Inequality, Overcrowded Cities, Climate Change, Ocean Pollution, Deforestation, Injustice, Distrust….the list of our global problems goes on and on.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and even despondent, when faced with this long tally of challenges. But a new breed of actors are turning a bleak narrative on its head by identifying global business opportunities that contribute to solutions.
Global Goals Week Sept. 22-29 marks the anniversary of the 2015 UN adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 objectives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health outcomes, create better jobs and address our environmental challenges by 2030. As we celebrate progress towards these goals, it has become clear that well-meaning solutions created in silos are usually stillborn. Solutions can only come by working across sectors as these challenges are global in scope and not limited to national boundaries. While hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty in the past few decades, we are left with unequal growth, job insecurity, growing debt, and greater environmental risks.
Corporations and entrepreneurs are increasingly using the SDGs as a platform for multisector collaboration. Businesses are essential partners as they transcend national boundaries, can harness the power of the market to scale, and possess resources that are often greater than those of nations. Entrepreneurs bring renewed purpose and disruption to old business models.