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  • andrea 6:18 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Agenda 2030, , , , , , technology   

    Business-as-usual won’t deliver the SDGs 

    The new Sustainable Development Goals, or (SDGs) set out a shared global agenda for human development with several bold objectives to be achieved by 2030, including poverty eradication and universal coverage in health, education and modern energy services. Meeting these global ‘stretch’ goals calls for transformation that is deep and fast—a rate of change that a Business-As-Usual (BAU) approach simply won’t deliver. As well as much greater engagement of the private sector, to meet the global goals governments will need to mobilise all the tools they can—technology, investment, policy and partnerships—as key means of implementation to deliver a step-change in trajectory.

    ICT—information communication technology—is one sector that’s rising to the challenge and a new report from Ericsson and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, launched last week at WEF Africa and co-edited by One Stone, shows what can happen when an industry sector gets behind the global goals.


    According to the report, the key accelerator technology that can get us off the BAU path is ICT— notably mobile broadband—which has experienced the fastest, most global technology uptake in human history. Continued rapid innovation across the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and big data will drive further gains across the entire global economy in the near future.

    Projections by Ericsson Mobility Report show that by 2021 mobile broadband (3G or above) will cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population, leaping from almost one billion subscribers in 2010 to 7.7 billion subscriptions. It is this staggering ability to scale fast, the report argues, that will help to ‘connect the unconnected’ and reach the ‘last mile’ to deliver unprecedented social and economic inclusion by 2030.

    The crux of the report is that ICT—especially mobile broadband—will be the essential infrastructure platform for the SDGs. Specifically, ICT has immense potential to speed up and scale—or increase the rate of diffusion of—a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, applications and platforms across the global economy, helping low-income countries to leapfrog to achieve key development milestones while contributing to growth. Significantly, it can also dramatically reduce the costs of service delivery.

    To achieve the SDGs ICT needs to be combined with innovative policies, services and solutions to deliver transformation at unprecedented speed and scale. It can be a powerful means of implementation in five major ways:

    1. Accelerated upscaling of critical services in health, education, financial services, smart agriculture, and low-carbon energy systems.
    2. Reduced deployment costs.
    3. Enhanced public awareness and engagement.
    4. Innovation, connectivity, productivity and efficiency across many sectors.
    5. Faster upgrading in the quality of services and jobs.

    To show the potential of ICT to drive progress on the SDGs, the report summarises lessons to date and explores the future outlook for four key areas:

    • Financial Services
    • Education
    • Health
    • Energy

    The groundbreaking case studies featured in the report show that the breakthroughs needed to drive and accelerate progress beyond Business-As-Usual (BAU) to meet the SDGs are already in operation, albeit on a small scale. The exciting hallmark of ICT is that it makes rapid scale-up of today’s demos to tomorrow’s national programs both feasible and realistic. In each case ICT offers potential for widespread, accelerated uptake by:

    • Reducing the unit costs of service delivery;
    • Expanding the range of services that can be offered;
    • Economizing on scarce resources (e.g. by upskilling local workers online); and
    • Accelerating institutional learning through online communities.

    The main policy conclusion of the report is that to make the leap from BAU to an SDG path and deliver on the 2030 vision, governments need to equip the entire public sector—including service delivery in finance, education, health, energy and transportation—with high-quality ICT infrastructure. What can your industry sector do to drive progress beyond Business-As-Usual on the global goals?

    You can download the full report ICT & SDGs: how information technology can accelerate action on the SDGs here.






  • andrea 12:22 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , compliance, , , , , , risk   

    Ethics—strengthen your culture for success 

    Organisations with strong cultures of integrity have a lot in common. They focus on creating value for the long term. They put ethical behaviour and stakeholder interests at the heart of the business. They use robust systems to help people make good choices. And they refresh and reinforce core values often to make sure they’re lived.

    Sokol1924Culture—the accepted way of doing things—can make or break your company. Actively root it in strong principles and social expectations and you earn trust, brand value and respect. Neglect it and you open the door to significant operational risk.

    Our latest book, Creating a Culture of Integrity: Business Ethics for the 21st Century, sheds light on how firms from GE to RBS are embedding responsible business as the cultural norm.

    Here are three essential steps you can take to strengthen your culture for success.

    1. Model: lead by example
    2. Educate: train and empower employees
    3. Reward: mobilise performance with incentives


    1. Model: lead by example

    Ethics is everybody’s business, but the CEO, board and management have special responsibilities when it comes to creating a culture of integrity. Good leaders reinforce shared values, walk the talk, tell inspiring stories, encourage speaking up and—when necessary—make tough calls.

    1. Educate: training and awareness

    It’s the daily attitudes and actions of every individual in the company that add up to corporate culture, so raising awareness is crucial to keep personal and organizational values consistent. Effective ethics training tells people what’s expected, why it matters and empowers them to make good choices by showing them how.

    1. Reward: pay and performance

    What gets rewarded gets repeated, so when it comes to culture change, hardwiring ethics to incentives is among the best resources in the corporate toolkit. Make sure your appraisal system is sending the signal that doing the right thing is valued in your corporate culture.

    To learn more about how leading companies are putting these steps into practice, download our free briefing.
    How do you shape your culture? Who sets your organisation’s tone? How do you keep values fresh? What’s the best way to measure change? And which really gnarly problems do you need to solve?

    We’d love to hear your thoughts.


  • Fran 9:51 am on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SRI   

    What’s next for investors after Paris? 

    Our new associate Kajetan Czyz Analyst, Governance and Sustainable Investment at BMO, explains why Paris has galvanised investors and highlights the changes in low carbon finance expected in 2016.

    JaLON_2016 bw

    In the run-up to the Paris talks, investors participated in discussions with policymakers. Their key asks? To give the investment community a clear direction of travel including a long-term target, supported by country-level plans. Here are 5 reasons investors can feel good.

    The Paris Agreement meets all key investor expectations, and crucially during 2016 global regulators will focus on the elephant in the room—the financial sector’s role in addressing climate change.

    1. Long-term goal
    The Agreement sets an ambition to achieve “a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century” while “peaking emissions as soon as possible.” In other words the world should become carbon-neutral.

    2. National commitments
    Every participating country is obliged to produce a national emissions reduction plan (“Nationally Determined Contributions” or NDCs). All but six countries have already done so.

    3. Review mechanism
    NDCs will be reviewed in 2018 and then every five years to ensure they are in line with the Agreement’s aim to hold the global temperature rise to “well below 2°C” and “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” A key clause states that the NDCs cannot be weakened.

    4. Transparency
    The Agreement has introduced a monitoring and verification requirement for all countries, and a global stocktaking of reduction efforts in 2023. This increases the certainty that measures are being implemented, and serves as peer pressure through “naming-and-shaming” laggards.

    5. Finance
    Developed countries have now agreed to fully fund the Green Climate Fund up to $100 billion per year from a “variety of sources,” which includes private finance.

    The UN Climate Summit in Paris gives investors greater clarity than ever before about the political willingness to transition the global energy system to a post-fossil fuel future. This will have a profound impact on energy producers and users alike. It also has implications for fund management and strategic asset allocation decisions.

    So what exactly is next for investors? Some countries, most notably France, have set in place a requirement for investors to assess the impact of their investments and analyse their carbon risk exposure. More countries are expected to follow suit, and prudent investors have already began work in this area, e.g. AXA.

    Expect 2016 to see scaling up by financial regulators on climate change. The Paris Agreement commits governments to “making financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.” And as implementation gets underway, investors will be expected to take action to support this.

    Four developments investors are watching:

    1. Sweden is the first country to announce a review obliging its financial regulator to ensure the financial system is “financing sustainable development.”
    2. France’s new Energy Transition Law requires institutional investors to provide the carbon footprints of their investments, review their portfolio’s alignment with a low-carbon development pathway, and to disclose methods of integrating climate-related risks. Guidance on implementation has recently been finalised.
    3. In the UK, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced an industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to be chaired by Michael Bloomberg.
    4. The Chinese G20 presidency is set to make “Green Finance” a priority area for 2016, with the Paris deal on climate change—and the energy transition—a mainstream investor issue.

    The direction of travel couldn’t be clearer.

  • andrea 6:45 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , development, , , partnership, , ,   

    Think Big—business and the Global Goals 

    From January 2016, 17 new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) kick in, setting out a shared global vision for a prosperous, fair, sustainable economy out to 2030. Supported by 169 targets, these ‘global goals’ call for a step change in how we tackle major development challenges—from climate change and extreme poverty to inequality and injustice.

    This time around, the private sector is centre-stage in making change happen. It’s a fantastic opportunity for proactive companies to deliver real impact by working out how their core business can best support the goals. Solving global challenges is a powerful way to show purpose and create value for business and society. Companies aligned with the new agenda stand not only to gain reputational kudos, but are winning huge early mover advantage in tomorrow’s markets.


    Through our work with companies like Electrolux, Scania, Ericsson and RB to integrate sustainability into the business we’ve identified three promising areas where companies can take the lead:

    • Meeting unmet needs
    • Accelerating and scaling
    • Becoming net positive

    Our latest briefing paper describes how companies like Hindustan Unilever, Vodafone and Electrolux are increasing wellbeing, tackling poverty and combating climate change while building new markets, increasing spending power and gaining market share.

    Others—like Ericsson, KeringCarlsberg and Tetra Pak—are working collaboratively to achieve shared goals to scale and accelerate positive change by driving uptake of innovation, influencing the value chain, and growing infrastructure and capacity.

    Another way of supporting the goals is the pioneering efforts by companies like Kingfisher Group, Coca-Cola and NAB to decouple business growth from environmental impacts and become net positive. Changing what gets measured and how decisions are made is a crucial step on the sustainable value creation journey.

    To learn more from these inspiring examples of business action on the global goals, download our free briefing paper here.

    We’d love to learn from you too. Where do society’s needs and the focus of your company intersect? How can your business best benefit and drive progress on the global goals? Please share your story.

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