We would all agree that education is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development and underpins enduring prosperity and economic growth. Indeed, it is one of the central pillars of the Millennium Development Goals. So why, despite much effort, does the achievement of quality ‘Education for All’ remain a major global challenge?
Last week’s report from the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development, rightly puts cross-sectoral collaboration squarely at the heart of achieving sustainable development, and reiterates the vital role business can and must play as a partner in development: “each priority area identified in the post-2015 agenda should be supported by dynamic partnerships”.
Recent price hikes on food commodities have increased mainstream awareness and concerns around food security and nutrition. The issue is now at the top of the global agenda due to the expected increase in food demand driven by population growth and changing consumption patterns. Furthermore, our capacity to meet this demand is compromised by dwindling natural resources, the effects of climate change, and the need to protect our ecosystems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve systemic change, business will need to collaborate with governments. For example, Governments of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), at the 2011 UNFCCC Durban Conference, adopted the Private Sector Initiative (PSI) of the Cancun Adaptation Framework which seeks to catalyse involvement of the private sector in the National Adaptation Plans for Action.
Inclusive business (IB) projects, by definition, tend to sit in areas outside of companies’ traditional comfort zones. Whether providing incomes to disadvantaged people by including them in the company’s value chain, or developing new markets with pro-poor products or services, they are rarely business as usual, requiring a much stronger interaction with ‘society’ than traditional business.