The UN 2030 Agenda for the new Europe

Published on Friday, 26 May 2017

In order to achieve the goals of the UN agenda by 2030 requires greater collaboration within and between companies to change their business model.

The message is loud and clear and comes straight from the CSR Europe Conference (May 22-23) at the European Business Summit (EBS) which brought together over 300 representatives of companies, governments and non-governmental organisations in Brussels. The topic of the event was the role of business in producing sustainable growth in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.

Enel is a Conference partner and supporter of the Sustainable Business Exchange 2017-2018 campaign of CSREurope, launched in December 2016 to support companies in adopting sustainable business models and in taking action toward the achievement of the SDGs as key drivers of growth in Europe.

According to Francesco Starace, Enel CEO, "implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals means supporting the growth of the company as well as ensuring sustainable business in the long term. Companies that adopt the SDGs in their business strategies gain the advantage of a clear roadmap to shape the decision-making process which will generate value for shareholders and all stakeholders. That’s why we have integrated the SDGs as a key factor of Enel’s industrial strategy."

The SDGs White Paper, with preface by Enel’s CEO Francesco Starace and special acknowledgment by the Vice President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans, was drawn up by Frost & Sullivan and GlobeScan on behalf of CSR Europe and presented at the conference. The research which explores the level of engagement of European business leaders in the pursuit of the sustainable development goals shows that despite the progress made, a greater effort by companies is needed to achieve the UN goals by 2030. While top managers help the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, middle management seems to lag behind.

According to the white paper, the UN 2030 Agenda can be an opportunity for a new narrative for Europe: the SDGs not only provide a common framework for communication between the public and private sector, the scientific community, citizens and non-governmental organisations, but offer also a crucial opportunity for Europe to support sustainable and inclusive growth and to promote confidence throughout the EU.

The event was also attended by Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, who, together with Hans Daems, Chair of the Board of CSREurope, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding as a commitment toward collaboration to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Executive Director of CSR Europe, Stefan Crets, explained that through the Sustainable Business Exchange, CSR Europe will work with its network of more than 10,000 companies in Europe to promote a new model of sustainable business growth, to develop a common language which helps the transition to a circular economy, while an SDG incubator will facilitate pilot projects between companies, civil society and governments to meet common challenges.