What is and what should be the role of the private sector in development? CONCORD launches its new report “10 point roadmap for Europe on the role of the private sector in development” compiling ten areas of action for the EU to ensure a fair, sustainable and accountable contribution of the private sector to the 2030 Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands action primarily from governments but will require efforts from all sectors of society. In particular, the 2030 Agenda calls on “all businesses to apply their creative and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges”. Indeed, and although the private sector has already led many voluntary initiatives which contribute to sustainable development, to realise our collective transition towards a system that offers people worldwide a dignified life and respects our planet, both companies and governments must take further action.

Ensuring the private sector’s positive contribution to sustainable development

The EU counts on the private sector – that is for profit organisations – as key actor in contributing to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. Its role is highlighted again in the recently adopted European Consensus for Development.  From decent jobs to sustainable production, from access to clean energy and IT to fair trade in commodities, there are a myriad of ways in which the private sector, from local to global and small to multinational, is already contributing.

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”

Henry Ford

But this contribution is not always positive. We have all heard the troubling stories about the violation of human rights, the lack of accountability, avoidance of tax, corporate lobbying against climate change regulations and incriminating evidence of pollution and waste. So what steps should the EU take when engaging with the private sector to promote genuine sustainable development outcomes and the realisation of human rights?  

A roadmap for Europe on the role of the private sector in development

The “10 point roadmap for Europe on the role of the private sector in development” elaborates ten areas of action where the EU should address accountability, effectiveness and sustainability. It has been developed by CONCORD members in collaboration with CSO allies and experts. It includes case studies, provided by members and collaborators, from across the world which illustrate both opportunities for positive outcomes as well as existing gaps and concerns.