Report: ‘Sustainability requires extraordinary action’

None of the United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals will be met in all regions of the world and no one region will reach all of the 17 goals, is the seemingly gloomy forecast in a new report launched in New York on Monday by the risk management company DNV-GL. But there is still hope, the report reassures.

September 19, 2016
UN Photo/Cia Pak

The report launch was co-hosted with the UN Global Compact at the UN headquarters, just as world leaders are flying in for the annual meeting of UN General Assembly.

There is still time to reset the course, the report adds, highlighting 17 global companies driving extraordinary progress on each of the global goals. Among the companies showcased is the aluminium company Hydro, and the Karmøy technology pilot aiming to verify the world’s most energy and climate-efficient aluminium production technology.

“For the most part, business has the technology, people, and processes to rock the world. The challenge, therefore, isn’t the ‘smarts’, it’s the take-up of solutions proposed and piloted – the real scaling of these interventions,” said the Group President & CEO of DNV-GL, Remi Eriksen at the launch.

The scale of the challenge is such that urgent, extraordinary action is needed to reach the global goals. But business is uniquely positioned to drive this magnitude of action, is the message in the report named Future of Spaceship Earth, the SDGs – the business frontier.

The co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocacy Group, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, says: “This report highlights the vital contributions business can – and must – make in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030, and presents 17 inspiring examples.”

Hydro President & CEO, Svein Richard Brandtzæg, agrees, viewing sustainability as a part of Hydro’s license to operate and as key to the company’s future competitiveness. "Doors will start to close on those who remain part of the problem, while new doors will open for those who are part of the solution," says Brandtzæg in the report.

Brandtzæg and Hydro is showcased as an example for how to reach the SDG #9 emphasizing innovation and infrastructure. “Finding ways to produce and consume sustainably is not a hindrance to development and growth. On the contrary: finding, developing and implementing new solutions that allow production and consumption to take place within the terms set by nature, will be the new mark of industrial progress”, Brandtzæg says, adding that companies that want to have a long future should regard sustainable operations as an investment, rather than a cost.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals comprise a whole range of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. All though impact varies, Hydro has found most of the SDGs business relevant and already reports on a whole range of issues covered by the SDGs.

For more information, see links to the DNV-GL report, Hydro’s position paper on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a spreadsheet giving a general overview on how Hydro impacts on, contributes to and reports according to the global goals.


Updated: November 21, 2016