Corporates call on Federal Government to adopt policies for sustainable recovery from COVID-19

Governance Institute is proud to be one of the 48 organisations calling for the Federal Government to utilise the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals in the recovery from the pandemic.
Read the full media release that has been issued jointly by the group below.

A group of Australian businesses, industry groups, universities and civil society organisations have banded together to urge the Federal Government to remain focused on the need for a sustainable future as it creates policies to aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to the Prime Minister this week, the group called for the Government to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for policies that would strengthen the economy and ensure “a better future for all”.

“Creating a fairer, more resilient and cleaner economy does not require the reinvention of frameworks or agreements,” the letter says. “Instead, we are in a unique position to use the SDGs as the basis for a socially just and green recovery.”

The 48 signatories to the letter include Optus, SunRice, Nestle Australia, Konica Minolta Australia, Intrepid Travel, Pacific Hydro, IKEA Australia, the University of Melbourne, Country Road Group, Chartered Accountants ANZ, ACFID, World Vision, Global Impact Initiative, Governance Institute of Australia, Clifford Chance, the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) and the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), which includes the major banks and insurers. The letter was co-ordinated by the Global Compact Network Australia, the local network of the UN Global Compact— the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

“It is clear that many aspects of our lives will change permanently,” the letter says. “Some industries may never be the same again. We must use this challenging situation as an opportunity to work together with our global and national partners alike to build a stronger and more resilient economy with the SDGs at its heart.”

The executive director of the GCNA, Kylie Porter, said the letter reflected a growing awareness of the significant benefits associated with aligning future policy frameworks with the SDGs.

“There is a clear desire among business and civil society organisations to see Government policies that encourage and foster support for a sustainable future,” Ms Porter said.

The 17 SDGs are an internationally agreed framework for urgent action to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all UN member states in 2015, including Australia. The goals address global challenges including those related to global inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The SDGs are all interconnected and aim to leave no one behind.

The letter stresses the need to prioritise the most vulnerable members of society and to also address regional and social inequalities, the extent of which have been exposed through the impact of COVID-19.

“We need to ensure that our recovery from the pandemic leaves no one behind and puts the health and wellbeing of current and future generations first.”

The letter also asks the Government to build policies that will aid the transition to net zero emissions by 2050. “We must balance social and economic needs with the needs of our planet, protecting and managing nature and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” it says.

“The SDGs provide a way to create co-benefits on the path to net zero by 2050 and enable a framework for coordinated and holistic policy design.”

About the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network Australia
The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with its membership consisting of more than 10,000 businesses and 3,000 non-business organisations. In Australia, the GCNA brings together signatories to the UN Global Compact, including more than 30 ASX 100 companies and other major corporates, non-profits and universities, to advance corporate sustainability and the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

Read the signed letter

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Media contact: Hannah Edwards, media@governanceinstitute.com.au

About Governance Institute of Australia 

A national membership association, advocating for a community of 40,000 governance and risk management professionals from the listed, unlisted and not-for-profit sectors.  Our mission is to drive better governance in all organisations, which will in turn create a stronger, better society.

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