The SDGs have gradually taken root in civil society and the business community at the national and international levels. While the MDGs focused on development assistance to developing countries, the SDGs bring an expanded scope that encompasses disparities between developed and developing countries, leaving no-one left behind and aiming to realize “the future we want”. Therefore the SDGs are clearly going to play a key role in the business arena – as a common language for the conduct of global business, as a set of non-financial information to be disclosed for ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment, and as a checklist for corporate risk management.
Taking this into account, a key element for success is action by businesses. Foreign leading companies have taken the initiative ahead of civil society, with the publication of the SDG Compass by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which was established prior to the MDGs, together with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
However, Japanese companies got a late start with the SDGs, and there is a risk that the emerging movement for SDGs in Japan might end up in just a tentative boom. Therefore, through the monthly forums organized by UNU to disseminate and explain the SDGs to the persons of management and strategic class of Japanese companies and provide a useful platform for the companies to discuss and exchange ideas on the SDGs with each other, the project will contribute to the long-term and sustainable growth of Japanese companies, aiming to realize a sustainable society.