What’s the issue?

The EU sees the private sector as a key actor in contributing to sustainable development. While some businesses do create decent jobs, engage in sustainable production, provide access to clean energy and IT solutions, or adhere to fair trade principles, the contribution of the private sector is not always positive.

We’ve all heard chilling stories of human rights violations, including land grabs, extra-judicial killings and unlawful detentions.

Forced labour, child labour, crackdowns on social protests and other violations of labour rights, including exploitation of women, are also common.

In such cases, there is little to no access to justice for the majority of victims. When corruption and a lack of accountability go unchallenged, tax avoidance, corporate lobbying against regulations, including environmental protections, and pollution and waste are just “business as usual”.


Change we want to see

alternative models

Priority for mission-driven and micro, small and medium enterprises.


Businesses respect human rights and the environment.


public services for all

Public delivery of essential services is guaranteed.

corporate tax paid

Companies pay their fair share of tax in the country of operation.

What we want the EU to do


The EU approach has mainly focused on encouraging voluntary private sector initiatives.

For private investments and economic development to contribute effectively to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments must take action and impose legal obligations on business to protect individuals, countries and the planet from abuse and exploitation.

The role of the private sector in development

What should be the role of the private sector in development? CONCORD compiled ten areas of action for the EU to ensure a fair, sustainable and accountable contribution of the private sector to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The EU counts on the private sector as a key actor in sustainable development. From decent jobs to sustainable production, there are a myriad of ways in which the private sector is already contributing. But this contribution is not always positive.   
This report elaborates ten areas of action where the EU should address accountability, effectiveness and sustainability. It includes case studies from across the world which illustrate both opportunities as well as existing gaps and concerns. 

Latest news

Report: on the role of private sector

Report: on the role of private sector

With the help of Coordination Sud, our report on the role of the private sector in development is now available in French: “Une feuille de route en 10 points pour l’Europe. Le rôle du secteur privé dans le développement”.

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