Table Speech

The Private Sector and the Sustainable Development Goals

April 26, 2017

Mr. Masaya Futamiya
Chairman, Representative Director,
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.

 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were unanimously adopted during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held in New York in September, 2015. This new set of ambitious development agenda consists of 17 Goals and 169 Targets to be achieved by 2030, covering wide-ranging issues such as eradication of poverty and hunger, addressing climate change, conservation of the ecosystem, gender equality, promotion of global partnership and peace-building. As a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had set goals from 2001 to 2015, the SDGs place more emphasis on addressing environmental challenges to achieve “sustainable development” through a holistic approach, covering “energy and climate change,” “marine and terrestrial ecosystem,” “resource conservation” and “sustainable consumption and production”.

 The Japanese Government has taken important steps towards establishing an overall coordination mechanism to implement the SDGs. The “SDGs Promotion Headquarters” was launched in May 2016, with Prime Minister Abe as its Chair, and works to develop guidelines for the implementation of the SDGs. In addition to this inter-ministerial framework, a round table of multi-stakeholders, including ministries, financial and labor circles, NGOs, and academia was established to ensure an inclusive and participatory consultation. I joined the discussion to better articulate the views of the business community.

 The views I shared at the round table discussions could be summarized into two. One was the need for advocacy to gain wider support for the SDGs among the general public in Japan to ensure our commitment to the economic and social goals endorsed by the international community. The second point I raised was the need for companies to address social issues through their core business operations. Companies are expected to play a critical role in achieving the SDGs through creativity and innovation and to initiate social transformation.

 Let me also highlight that the SDGs have the potential to expand business opportunities for the private sector. According to the report released by leading businesses on the occasion of the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, if companies embed the SDGs in their strategies, it could generate at least 12 trillion US dollars and create 380 million jobs by 2030. I am convinced that companies can help make the world a better place as well as enhance their corporate value by engaging with the SDGs. Companies can create a great impact by providing their business solutions to address social challenges, making good use of their innovative products and services. Let me emphasize the commitment by the top executive and strong leadership is the key to embrace the SDGs.