Last week was busy. It was the week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. New York has its own level of energy and pace, but when you add foreign dignitaries by the bushel and the added security that they bring, it all reaches a fever pitch.
Inside the UN, there is another level of bustle where member states, scores of UN agencies and hundreds of outside influencers are moving through the halls and conference rooms trying to nudge the planet into a more sustainable direction. The Sustainable Development Goals were in the spotlight as they should be.
I was there as part of IMPACT 2030 — a private sector led initiative to mobilize human capital toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For full disclosure, I am one of the co-founders and a board member of IMPACT 2030.
We attended quite a few events that were raising awareness and trying to inspire and mobilize people to act, especially the private sector. The only thing missing was something to actually do!
I am proud to say that IMPACT 2030 offered (and nearly 200 companies showed interest in) a ready-made platform to educate employees about the goals and then to get into the community and educate school children on the goals. Ninety percent of the world's population doesn't know about these goals, so educating people on the goals seems like a good first step that everyone can do.
BUT, there wasn't much more than that as far as I could see. Everyone wants to do something, but it is one thing to talk about it, and quite another to do it. At the Private Sector Forum, the Secretary General of the UN told the crowd of private sector leaders that if the private sector does not engage in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, then the entire effort will be a "nice conversation in New York."
More than in any other time in history, companies have the opportunity to make the world tangibly better. More specifically, they can make themselves, their employees, and their communities better by taking real action where they operate.
We thrive on making that real action happen.