Sustainable financing can accelerate development goals: UN
Financial strategies and investment decisions are important drivers in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs), UN staff said during a forum on sustainable finance at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok on Thursday.
The financial sector and investors are paying attention to sustainable development because it plays an important role in business operations, said UN Global Compact Network Thailand chairman Suphachai Chearavanont.
Thailand is developing financial and investment tools to support business operators in sustainable development, especially for tackling climate change and protecting the environment, Suphachai said.
"Natural resources are essential for the global economy," he said. It would be difficult to maintain economic growth and the quality of life if ecosystems and biodiversity are not protected, he added.
He advised business operators to follow five strategies to achieve SDGs: set a target and communicate it clearly, use marketing to attract consumers, promote the role of employees and partners in value chains, encourage the young generation to deal with challenges to sustainability, and create a culture of innovation.
"I believe that business operators are able to achieve their SDGs, such as reducing air pollution and adapting themselves to cope with the impact of climate change," he said.
Sanda Ojiambo, CEO of UN Global Compact, said economic instability, food and energy scarcity, and rising global temperature are making development less sustainable.
The business sector has an important role to play in sustainable development, she said, adding that sustainable finance is a mechanism to accelerate sustainable development.
More than 80,000 business operators – including those who run small- and medium-sized enterprises – are facing difficulties in achieving their SDGs, Ojiambo said.
"We believe up to US$7 trillion [in sustainable financing] could be allocated to the business sector to achieve global goals," she said.
The UN Global Compact Asia and Oceania Regional Hub will be opened in Bangkok soon to help businesses across the region achieve their SDGs, she said.
Value-chain management and environmental awareness are key to achieving SDGs, said UN Resident Coordinator for Thailand Gita Sabharwal.
The UN is helping businesses achieve their SDGs, she said.
"We are currently midway on sustainable development by 2030," she said.
The private sector has an important role to play in accelerating sustainable development in Thailand, she added.
She urged financial institutions and asset managers to unlock sustainable finance to help businesses achieve their SDGs.