CEO Roundtable – From Funding to Financing: Powering disruptive partnerships, catalysing innovation, unlocking transformative financing instruments, and enabling policy dialogue for the SDGs
Bengaluru, 7 June: At the second Annual UN-India Business Forum (UNIBF), Union Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu highlighted through a video message, the critical need for a platform to develop a “well-balanced relationship” between business and society, and between business and government, to together achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Business is necessary for employment, for job creation and to improve our quality of life. But at the same time, they should not be seen to be the cause of the problem. So I am very happy the United Nations has taken this initiative and I wish them all the best,” he said.
Speaking at the CEO Roundtable, Srivatsa Krishna, IAS, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary, Coffee Board of India; Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India said, “The Government of India is committed to the SDGs. However, with the current level of funding, the world will never make it by 2030. It’s a concern for all of us. I urge Industry to partner with the government and the UN to address the development challenges.” Citing the example of the Coffee Board of India, he added, “Through our partnership with the private sector, we have been able to enhance incomes of small farmers and develop the coffee eco system through incentive based reforms.”
The UNIBF is a strategic alliance of India’s key economic influencers – businesses, financial institutions, the government, and the UN – aimed at accelerating progress towards India’s rapid development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals to ensure prosperity for all. “UNIBF has tremendous potential to transform sectors through catalytic and disruptive partnerships, unlock financial resources, and fuel innovation for social and sustainable development in India,” said Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India.
Based on the idea that innovative solutions developed with the private sector will catalyse sustainable development in India, UNIBF works through thematic groups focused on the biggest opportunities: decentralised renewable energy, affordable housing, health and nutrition, education and skilling, women’s economic empowerment, and water and sanitation. This year, leadership from some of India’s biggest private sector players, such as Unilever, Hindustan Coca-Cola, Piramal Swasthya, TATA Housing, HDFC, Future Group and more, gathered to collectively explore opportunities and unleash the vast potential of this partnership.
In its first year, more than 70 of India’s biggest and most dynamic businesses partnered with UNIBF to identify innovative solutions and partnerships, including recommendations for India’s National Urban Habitat and Housing policy and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and supporting the creation of a sustainable, affordable housing fund and partnerships to tackle waste.
This year’s edition of the UNIBF also saw the launch of the UN India-NITI Aayog Investor Consortium for Women Entrepreneurs, a platform that provides mentoring and networking opportunities to women in business by bringing together UNIBF and NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurial Platform. The consortium aims to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship and reduce gender disparities in start-up investments by creating an enabling ecosystem for investments. “I’m very excited about this new platform being launched by the UN in India for enabling prospective women entrepreneurs, seeking funding options to connect with investors. Such initiatives are fully aligned with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform and will help in achieving its objectives,” said Anna Roy, Advisor, NITI Aayog, Government of India.
The business case for investing in the SDGs is clear. Sustainable development has the potential to open up markets worth up to US$ 12 trillion around the world by 2030. Nowhere is this opportunity more evident than in India – home to one sixth of humanity, and with some of the world’s largest and most ambitious development programmes. However, it is estimated that up to US$ 5 trillion a year is needed to implement the SDGs worldwide.
In order to explore how foundations and leaders in the philanthropy sector can scale their impact and achieve development goals by using the SDGs as a planning and collaboration framework, the SDG Philanthropy Platform (SDGPP), led by the United Nations Development Programme and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, in partnership with Oak Foundation, held an interactive workshop on ‘Scaling Philanthropy’s Impact in Achieving SDGs in India’ parallel to the UNIBF CEO roundtable. The SDGPP India successfully forged collaborations with leaders in the philanthropy sector to accelerate the achievement of the global development agenda with a solution-focused and collaborative approach.
Yet, philanthropy is no longer enough to “fund” the SDGs. Global business engagement is now shifting to innovative “financing” instruments, joint public-private initiatives, a focus on measurable outcomes, and full supply chain approaches for sustainable businesses.
The UN-India Business Forum is committed to support efforts to mobilise dialogue and bring innovative solutions to scale across stakeholders, sectors and countries to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Learn more about UNIBF: in.one.un.org/unibf
Learn more about the SDG Philanthropy Platform: www.sdgphilanthropy.org/India-SDGPP