Business contributes to the MDGs

In 2000, world leaders adopted a declaration in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to help eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve universal education, reduce child mortality, promote gender equity, improve maternal health, combat diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability. While significant progress has been made toward these goals, much needs to be accomplished to meet the 2015 targets only five short years away.

We hear a lot about what governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations are doing to help reach these goals, but what about the private sector? Business and industry are key partners in the UN’s effort to help achieve the MDGs, and this September they will have the chance to discuss their accomplishments and contributions, as well as the remaining challenges and obstacles.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited CEOs to engage with world leaders and UN agency heads this September to review private sector contributions toward achieving the MDGs, and key challenges that remain. I have been helping organize UNEP’s participation, including engaging with CEOs who show a substantial commitment to environmental sustainability in their corporate programs.

A number of companies are taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint and promote environmental sustainability; for example, using power from renewable energy sources, reducing their use of hazardous chemicals in manufacturing and production processes, switching to electric or biofuel transportation fleets, implementing employee telecommuting programs, and promoting waste minimization, water conservation and recycling. Environmentally sustainable measures also contribute to many of the other MDGs—for example, reducing poverty and hunger through new green jobs, and improving health and combating diseases through access to clean water.

By promoting and investing in environmentally sustainable practices, businesses can preserve the environmental resources they depend upon and contribute to the MDGs, as well as benefit from increased cost savings, more efficient production processes, decreased risk, and improved stakeholder engagement and public image.

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About christineackerson1

Christine Ackerson completed a B.Sc. in Geology at Purdue University and a M.Sc. in Geology at Texas A&M University. Christine’s primary policy interests include environmental and global climate change issues. Prior to becoming a graduate student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, she served as an environmental consultant for URS Corporation and Montgomery Watson Consulting Engineers. In that role she has been a project and task manager for environmental investigation, remediation and compliance projects with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense. As a volunteer, Christine has advocated children’s environmental health legislation before the Texas Legislature and participated in a workgroup providing input to the EPA on the development of national guidelines. In 2009, Christine served as an intern with Environmental Defense Fund at the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark and participated in a Climate Change Negotiation and Sustainable Growth Policies workshop in Hiroshima, Japan. She helped coordinate an international conference on collaborative responses to climate change hosted by The University of Texas at Austin and co-sponsored by the Canadian Consulate General, the Canadian Partnership Initiative in Support of the United Nations Water for Life Decade, and the Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation of Hiroshima University, Japan. Christine currently works as a graduate research assistant with the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law on the Climate Change and African Political Stability project, a Department of Defense initiative to better understand the relationship between the growing threat of climate change and the ability of African countries to manage complex emergencies.

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