Monday, August 10, 2020
The letter, which was issued by the Global Compact Network Australia, is signed by 48 of its members, and calls for the Government to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to strengthen the economy and create a “better future for all”.
“Creating a fairer, more resilient and cleaner economy does not require the reinvention of frameworks or agreements,” the letter says. “Instead, we are in a unique position to use the SDGs as the basis for a socially just and green recovery.”
The Global Compact Network Australia is the Australian network of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that has more than 10,000 participating businesses and 3,000 non-businesses worldwide. Launched in 2000 by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Global Compact supports companies to:
The letter, issued at a time when the health of the planet, its people and the economies that support them is increasingly at risk, recommends that the Australian Government:
1.It is clear that many aspects of our lives will change permanently. Some industries may never be the same again. We must use this challenging situation as an opportunity to work together with our global and national partners alike, to build a stronger and more resilient economy with the SDGs at its heart.
2.COVID-19 has exposed the depth of inequalities and risks exposing a larger group of people to income deprivation and its consequences. We welcome the Government’s commitment to provide income relief to many Australians and urge an ongoing focus to reduce widening social inequalities. The SDGs provide a framework which can help us prioritise health and wellbeing, alongside prosperity and GDP, as a measure of the nation’s success. We need to ensure that our recovery from the pandemic leaves no one behind and puts the health and wellbeing of current and future generations first.
3.We must balance social and economic needs with the needs of our planet, protecting and managing nature, and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. These goals do not have to be in conflict. The SDGs provide a way to create co-benefits on the path to net zero by 2050 and enable a framework for coordinated and holistic policy design.
It is hoped the letter will offer a way to bring government, business and civil society together to develop and support a sustainable pandemic recovery plan that will benefit our planet and all members of our community.
“We recognise that the scale of recovery will pose many challenges for the Government,” the letter concludes, “but the COVID-19 crisis has shown that businesses, government, and civil society can and will work together to create lasting and positive change. We believe the SDGs should be used to establish the level of ambition for Australia’s pandemic-recovery and to create intergenerational value that ensures all people in our country live a good life, prospering on a healthy planet now and in the future.”
The 48 signatories to the letter include Optus, SunRice, Nestle Australia, Konica Minolta Australia, Intrepid Travel, Pacific Hydro, IKEA Australia, the University of Melbourne, Country Road Group, Chartered Accountants ANZ, ACFID, World Vision, Global Impact Initiative, The Governance Institute, Clifford Chance, the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) and the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), which includes the major banks and insurers.
You can read the letter here.
A participant of the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath is a signatory of the Road to Recovery letter. Since becoming a member of the Global Compact in 2016, CourtHeath has been raising awareness about the SDGs and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria. The Victorian government's Social Procurement Framework (SPF) requires tenderers to improve environmental sustainability and outcomes for disadvantaged Victorians and those tenderers who are working towards achievement of the SDGs include that in their SPF response.
IMAGE: Global Compact Network Australia
[Global Compact Network Australia, SDGs, COVID19]