Doctoral candidate: Shane Boedhoe
Research track: Strategy & Organisation
Start date: June 2016
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. T. Elfring and Dr. C.M.J. Wickert
The Role of the Private Sector in Sustainable Development
My research interest is in the role of the private sector in sustainable development, and in particular advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
There are still more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty. Income inequality within and between countries are rising. Current production and consumption patterns have brought about severe social and environmental costs such as human rights violations, loss of biodiversity and deforestation to name a few. These challenges are global, transnational and interwoven in nature. It affects all of us, including future generations. In an attempt to tackle these issues, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals 1 (SDGs) that will guide the global development agenda up to 2030.
Whereas previously governmental and civil society actors were the most active and key players in addressing development challenges, the focus has recently shifted to engage the private sector as well (Dyllick and Hockerts, 2002; Margolis & Walsh, 2003; Frynas, 2008). Inasmuch, the United Nations explicitly recognized the private sector as a crucial partner in advancing the SDGs. The recognized potential of private sector actors results from their knowledge, resources, capacity and influence to develop and implement sustainable solutions (UN, 2015).
In line with this newly perceived role of private sector actors in society, more and more business leaders show interest in taking up the challenge and commit themselves to the SDGs. As a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals, 70% of the business respondents plan to align their business practice with the achievement of the SDGs (PwC, 2015 2). Also the Dutch SDG Charter 3 received seventy signatories from renowned business and civil society organisations. To illustrate, among the signatories is Philips and Philips indicated to become a leading private sector player in achieving the SDGs4 . However, the managerial and organisational implications for private sector actors by implementing the SDGs are not well understood yet. To date this phenomenon received little attention by business scholars. Thus with such necessity awarded to the role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs, and the increasing commitment by business leaders, gaining a thorough understanding of this phenomenon represents an important and timely research undertaking.
1 See https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
2 See Report ‘Make it your business ‘(PwC, 2015) http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/sustainability/sustainable-development-goals/sdg-research-results.html
3 See http://www.globalgoalscharter.org/
4 See http://www.philips.com/a-w/innovationmatters/blog/united-we-can-make-a-better-world.html