GECA has joined a group of Australian businesses, industry groups, universities and civil society organisations 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, The Governance Institute, 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 coordinated 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 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.”
Developing, purchasing and using products that meet the strict requirements of a type-1 ecolabel such as GECA’s, is one clear way to support the SDGs.