A sustainable future requires business action for the SDGs

Published date: 09 May 2022

GRI podcasts outline how companies can contribute towards a better quality of life for all

International experts in sustainable development from the private and public sector shed light on strategies for building greener and better cities and communities, as well as changing business models to help raise the standard of living – in the latest podcasts from GRI. 

Two new episodes are now available as part of SDGs: The Rising Tide, the podcast series that shares pioneering ideas, real-life case studies and stories from businesses on how they are engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 

This episode delves into the rationale behind the need to sustainably redesign urban areas, with perspectives shared by GRI Supervisory Board Member Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer with real estate multinational City Developments Limited, and Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General at the United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific network.  

The discussion explores collaboration opportunities between businesses and local governments, and brings attention to the role of reporting in measuring results and tracking progress towards the achievement of set goals, including the SDGs. 

As Esther An points out: 

“It does not come as a surprise that everything that a company does has an impact – both positive and negative. And here, sustainability reporting plays such an important role as it helps to measure it and understand what can be improved and adjusted. We firmly believe in reporting on the topics that are most material to our business and stakeholders.” 

Alongside sustainability reporting, which is mainly used by businesses to disclose related impacts on the economy, the environment and people, many countries participate in the Voluntary National Reviews – or VNRs for short – to assess progress towards the Global Goals at the national level. 

As Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi explains:

“Many countries do not actually include local governments in the VNR process, and that is problematic. We are working hard to try to influence central governments to change this, by demonstrating just how important local governments are for transparency and tracking of goals and targets.” 

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production 

In this episode, we hear from Chris Coulter, CEO of Globescan, an insights and strategy consultancy, and Michael Kuhndt, Executive Director at the Collaborative Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). They share their views on how, collectively, we can encourage companies, governments and citizens to reconsider business practices and buying habits and make the best use of impact reporting. 

Chris Coulter sets the tone: 

“The history of sustainable development is an important one. I do not think that a lot of people in the field, including myself, appreciate it enough. 50 years have passed since the first important global conference on environmental issues. At that time, the conversation was dominated by governments, activists, and NGOs. The business community was quite slow, and the biggest change since then has been the focus on business - because most of the impact we have on the world goes through the private sector.” 

Michael Kuhndt then gives his take on how organizations can support consumers to live more sustainable lives: 

“It is important for everyone to see the interconnections between production and consumption. It is crucial for a business to try to understand how it can support consumers to be more sustainable in the use phase of a product. How? By helping customers repair or reuse that product.” 

The Rising Tide can be accessed on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcast. GRI would like to thank the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).