Ongoing complex social problems throughout the world create distress and concern. Sustainable approaches, impact investing and circular economy will be the driver for change and provide the means to bridge finance and development and revitalise economies (Feldman, Hadjimichael, Lanahan, & Kemeny, 2016).
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set to create universal changes and stated that millions of people still live in poverty and hunger without access to basic services such as clean energy, clean water, healthcare, and sanitation (Briant, 2015; Park, 2018; United Nations, 2017).
In 2016, the 17 SDGs were embraced by the UN and all heads of state as Global Goals for 2016-2030. Corporates are now being seen as the key drivers of SDGs as they can apply their creativity and innovation in solving the sustainable development challenges and can play a strong role as facilitators to catalyse implementation of the SDGs. The SDGs provide a powerful framework for businesses to engage in corporate social responsibility. For example, when an organisation defines its CSR focus area on enhancing livelihoods through skill development training of women and youth, it is contributing to various SDGs like creating a means to end poverty, zero hunger, quality education, gender equality and decent work and economic growth.
The convergence of corporate resources with the knowledge and expertise of civil society organisations are key in achieving the SDGs seamlessly. Corporates now understand the value that can be derived from working towards the SDGs and a large number of corporates have already started taking measured steps in this direction. SDGs help in developing strategies to manage the social and environmental performance of companies so that it results in developing smart businesses that capture opportunities and come up with innovative products and services to achieve the highest standards of sustainability.
We will explore how impact investing can engage corporates. Through their innovation, investment, and operational footprint corporates can work with early-stage social enterprises to accelerate sustainable growth and development. Considerable efforts in impact investment can already be seen among multinational companies who have also tilted their efforts to address the SDGs. In fact, the majority of UN Global Compact companies — a network of more than 13,000 companies committed to responsible business — have acted to address the SDGs through their operations.
Impact investing also tie to the emerging concept of circular economy. Impact investors can invest directly in companies that take a circular approach, or in a clutch of companies along a circular supply chain. Imagine a “circular portfolio” that includes a company that produces the raw materials, the manufacturer that turns those materials into a consumer product and the recycler that turns any product waste back into a usable commodity. Overall, the aim of the corporate retreat in Bali is to introduce new practical approaches, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies and push for creative and collaborative, systemic ways to tackle global problems with both resource scarcity and waste.