• Kenya’s Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore has been appointed to Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development (GCBSD).

    The initiative which was launched during the World Economic Forum, will put business at the centre of sustainable development. The commission has brought together leaders from different businesses, civil society, labour and financial institutions.

    “Adopting these goals will provide a roadmap for businesses to become more sustainable and will spur the necessary partnerships needed for SDG delivery. For instance, it’s my belief that Kenyan businesses have the unique ability to bring the essence of the SDGs to life in ways that no other group can in this country,” Collymore said in a media release.

    GCBSD was created by the former United Nations Deputy Secreatry General Mark Malloch-Brown and Unilever CEO Paul Polman. In the next one year, the commission will work to “articulate and quantify the compelling economic case for businesses to engage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” 

    It will lay emphasis on:

    (i) Significant economic rewards – through new markets, investment opportunities and innovations – if the world tackles challenges including poverty, inequality and environmental stress

    (ii) Risks to business performance and stability, and increased fragmentation, resource competition and fragility, if the world fails to address these risks

    (ii) The necessity to work with governments, international organisations and civil society in order to build a future where businesses can perform – with inclusive, sustainable growth and widespread job creation

    According to the Commission Co-Chair Mr Mark, “A massive prize awaits business if it successfully ushers in an era of shared prosperity and increased sustainability,” he added that “Governments and international organizations alone cannot build the future we need. Business is the key to accelerating the transition.”

    “There is no business case for enduring poverty. We have an opportunity to unlock trillions of dollars through new markets, investments and innovation – but to do so, we must challenge our current practices and address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges. Every business will benefit from operating in a more equitable, resilient world if we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Unilever CEO Mr Polman.

    On her part, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation said, “there is a case to be made that vast economic incentives exist for changing business as usual.

    “Business can create the fair wage jobs to propel societal development that leaves no one behind. Business innovation can deliver the technological advancements needed to achieve an efficient, net zero emissions economy. And business and society could both win, if more businesses recognize this and act upon it,” she added.

    Mr Collymore joins a team of other global business leaders including: Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School, Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); John Danilovich, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Hendrik du Toit, CEO, Investec Asset Management; John Fallon, CEO of Pearson PLC; Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co.; Mo Ibrahim, Founder of Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank, among others.

    The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development will investigate how businesses which join the effort to end extreme poverty and protect natural resources can both realise significant long-term economic rewards and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.