Design a solution to help secure a livable future by promoting collaborative action on sustainability by business, government and civil society.
In this moment – as the need for action on the social, economic, and environmental issues addressed by the UN Global Goals grows increasingly urgent – it's clear we need radical collaboration to save our planet. Nothing less than large-scale collaborative action can solve the complex sustainability challenges we face.
That's what Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 is about: collaboration for impact. Your challenge is to think of a way for businesses to work together or to work collaboratively with governments, nonprofits, academic institutions, or other parts of civil society to tackle critical issues such as climate change, hunger, poverty, inequality, and injustice.
Your endgame can be making progress on any issue addressed by the SDGs, but the idea you propose must involve collective action through a collaboration such as a public-private partnership, network, coalition, alliance, or movement.
The UN Global Compact estimates that 78% of businesses taking action to support UN goals do so through partnerships, and several leading companies have already launched major sustainability initiatives within their own business communities. For example, EY's Net Zero initiative to speed the transition from carbon neutral to carbon negative not only involves EY's many global operating units but also EY suppliers and clients around the world. Think of the ripple effect this collective action to reduce environmental impact can have.
Among other things, SDG 17 calls for promoting knowledge-sharing in science, technology and innovation as well as making shared financial resources available for sustainable development. Your idea doesn't need to be about tech or finance, but you might start your brainstorming by considering a few examples in these areas:
- Can data activism accelerate progress on the SDGs? Initiatives inspired by the open data movement, such as the Committee on Data, International Open Data Charter, 100 Questions, and UN Open SDG Data Hub, democratize data access and promote civic innovation.
- Is there a role for artificial intelligence? XPrize Foundation partners with 40 different UN agencies and several leading tech companies to offer innovation challenges focused on using AI for the common good.
- What about information and communications technologies (ICTs)? Industry groups such as the International Telecommunications Union help expand access and leverage ICTs to bridge the digital divide and advance sustainable development.
- How do we increase financial support for sustainability in developing countries? Institutions such as the World Bank promote global investment in sustainability through financing frameworks such as the SDG Partnership Fund.
What's your idea for an innovative collaboration? It could be a way for business and government, at any level, to partner on sustainability projects or a way for businesses to team up with nonprofits to advance a sustainability goal. Or it could be a way for businesses and communities to come together to drive inclusive economic growth by nurturing local impact entrepreneurs, especially BIPOC entrepreneurs, or to achieve another SDG target.
An infinite number of ideas would meet this challenge – but they all begin with collaboration. The judges for this challenge will look at how your solution connects businesses to each other or to partners in government and civil society in order to promote sustainable development.
*Not sure what "civil society" encompasses? The term refers to organizations that are distinct from government, business, or family but have a role in public life. This includes academic and research institutions, cultural institutions, clubs, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, foundations, labor unions, member-controlled cooperatives, community groups, faith-based organizations, indigenous peoples councils, neighborhood coalitions, grassroots associations, online communities, and social movements.
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“My passion is connecting people to make a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world. At EY, we believe empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators is the key to building a better working world and future for all. We're honored to collaborate with NFTE, supporting the World Series of Innovation. ”Orlan Boston / EY Americas ESG Markets Leader
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