From the 2030 Vision to the 2030 Reality – How Far Are We?
In September 2015, Canada and all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a 15-year global action plan centred around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to encourage global actions and partnerships for people, planet and prosperity for both current and future generations. The 2030 Agenda highlights a great opportunity to make significant progress on global sustainable development issues.
However, ongoing threats from climate change and rapid resource consumption are making it harder to accomplish these goals.
How far are we from accomplishing the 2030 Agenda?
The recent SDG Report 2019 shows progress in some areas, such as extreme poverty reduction, widespread immunization, decrease in child mortality rates and increase in access to electricity. However, the lack of ambitious response from the global community is causing progress to be slower than required, leaving the most vulnerable people and nations to suffer the most. The report highlighted a few areas that require urgent, ambitious action:
– Global warming: The year 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations continued to increase in 2018 and 2019.
– Ocean acidification: Projected to increase between 100% to 150% by 2100, due to the current rate of CO2 emissions.
– Inequality: Extreme poverty is 3 times higher in rural areas than urban areas. Entrenched deprivation, violent conflicts and vulnerabilities to natural disasters are slowing down the pace of poverty reduction.
– Global hunger: Widespread hunger has been on the rise recently after a prolonged decline.
Current action efforts led by UN Global Compact:
An international report in the journal Nature Communications estimates that climate change will come at a cost of $2,000 trillion for the global economy if ‘business-as-usual’ practices continue, as we are currently on a trajectory of a 4°C increase in global temperature. It is estimated that investing only 5 percent of this amount over the next 10 years can offset the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
The UN Global Compact recently launched the Business Ambition 1.5˚C – Our Only Future Campaign to rally global business leaders to step up and commit their businesses to science-based targets aligned with the global climate goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Leading companies are already proving that a 1.5°C-compliant business model is possible, 28 multinational companies with a total market cap of $1.3 Trillion are leading the way by signing the UN pledge and committing themselves to operate under more ambitious climate targets. The call to action is for business leaders to make realistic plans by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and net zero by 2050.
Making Global Goals Local Business in Canada:
The private sector in Canada is seen to be transitioning beyond traditional corporate responsibilities to implement innovative and sustainable business models. The rise in responsible consumerism is keeping them accountable. According to a BDC Survey, 90 percent of surveyed Canadian consumers were willing to stop buying products from a company if they learned it was using deceptive or irresponsible business practices.
Similarly, businesses should also find ways to meaningfully engage other groups historically underrepresented in sustainability conversations, including women, youth, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, persons with disabilities, seniors, and members of the LGBTQ2 community, in order to support their unique needs and contributions, and to ensure that no one is left behind.
Effectively advancing the SDGs in Canada also requires fostering public-private partnerships between the business community, government, and civil society to collectively forward national goals. To lead the way, businesses need to be aware of these key trends and opportunities.
This September, Global Compact Network Canada will be discussing more about these key findings and Canada’s next steps in advancing the SDGs in a thought-provoking presentation on “Canada’s Roadmap to the 2030 Agenda” at the Making Global Goals Local Business – Canada Summit.
Come join the important SDG discussions at our Summit, taking place September 9-10th at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto. Learn more about the Summit and register here: https://globalcompact.ca/mgglb-2019/.