Do Tanzania companies care about the SDGs?
Although there are long-running corporations in Tanzania which have developed strategies for the SDGs, the country still faces some barriers to its broader agenda.
Despite the fact that some Tanzanian companies are racing ahead on the sustainability agenda, experts at the Responsible Business on Sustainable Development Goals hosted by UN Global Compact on 6 November hightligheted that Tanzania private sector is lagging on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Agenda 2030) and a lack of policy certainty is largely to blame for this.
The UN Global Compact intends to ensure that getting support of the private sector for achieving the SDG goals is attainable, but a much larger barrier is lack of country policies on sustainability, lack of knowledge on how companies can embed the SDGs into their core strategy and financial resources to modify their operational structure in line with sustainability agenda.
In her speech at the Responsible Business Forum, Lise Kingo highlighted that sustainable business models have the potential to unlock economic opportunities worth US12 trillion while creating up to 380 million jobs per annum by 2030.
Potentially what this means is that putting the Global Goals (SDGs) at the heart of the global economy strategy could unleash a step-change in growth and productivity, however the key ingredient in the equation is “leaving no one behind”, radical change in business and investment community, private-public partnerships are the critical drivers for the ideal rapid transformation.
Leading the way
As the country works towards the Agenda2030, some companies are leading the way and have long incorporated sustainable development objectives into their business. Leading companies in tourism, telecoms, agribusiness, banking and extractives sector have been taking action on the SDGs mostly without knowing they were already working towards the global goals. It is important for the UN Global Compact to work with companies to identify gaps in where there is a lack of understanding to educate and empower corporations on the Ten Principles and unlocking opportunities for SDGs locally.
Only a small fraction of companies in Tanzania conduct sustainability reporting or report on the SDGs, there is huge potential for companies to “do the right thing”. The global goals provide a sustainable profitable growth model for business and create innovative competition as companies “race to the top”. To achieve this, what is needed now is lining up the government support to enable the right policies, financial support to implement global goals and identifying key private-public-partnerships to ensure collective action towards the global goals – within that space is unlimited potential.
Mesiya Mwangoka is a sustainability practioner at Sustainability Practice – www.sustainabilitypractice.co.tz