Unilever CEO Paul Polman, B Team Leader and member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, has called for business to act urgently to help deliver – and reap the rewards – of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a new blog post, Polman writes that “after a turbulent year characterised by major political shifts, economic instability and a deepening refugee crisis, it is clearer than ever that our current global system is not working for everyone.”
Promoting the Commission’s “Better Business, Better World” report, the Polman writes that “our linear consumption model is leaving too many people behind,” impoverished and hungry, while that same economic system is simultaneously threatening our planetary boundaries. He says the SDGs, however, have given us a pathway to secure long-lasting growth “that works for everyone…while also creating a wealth of new market opportunities.”
The Commission estimates that the SDGs could generate $12 trillion of opportunities across four sectors by 2030 — equal to around 10% of forecast global growth.
B Team co-founder, and Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson also offered a strong endorsement of the report’s findings, writing that “the Commission has quantified just how big the prize could be if business and governments were to join forces and seize the enormous economic opportunity that lies behind climate action, clean and sustainable energy, or new health solutions – to name just a few.”
Examples of business’ seizing the opportunity and leading by example are growing every day – including Unilever’s most recent commitment announced this week, that it will ensure that 100% of its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and calling on the entire fast-moving consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards the circular economy.
According to Unilever, treating plastic packaging as a valuable resource to be managed efficiently and effectively is a key priority in achieving SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption & Production) and, in doing so, shifting away from a “take-make-dispose” model of consumption to one which is fully circular.
Read more about the Unilever commitment here