SDG #16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
To promote peace and justice – including promoting effective, responsible and inclusive institutions – is a crucial challenge worldwide. Violence cost 12.6 % of world GDP in 2016. IMF estimated the annual cost of bribery alone at about $1.5 to $2 trillion in 2016.
Bribery and corruption prevent business growth, raise transaction costs and create uneven competitive conditions. This ultimately creates social instability, fuels mistrust in public institutions and undermines the rule of law.
Governance is the systems and processes that ensure the overall effectiveness of an entity – whether a business, government or multilateral institution. Promoting good governance is a multidimensional challenge, which requires actions that mutually reinforce each other. For example:
Anti-corruption is crucial for the rule of law and peace building.
Peace is an enabler for sustainable development and is a precondition for the rule of law and efforts to reduce corruption.
The rule of law is necessary to effectively deal with violent conflict drivers, illegal financial flows and immunity, and to provide a legal framework that ensures fairness and predictability.
The primary responsibility for peace and security rests with governments. However, the private sector can make important contributions through business practices.
Why should business support SDG16?
Businesses have a vitally important role to play in respecting and supporting peace, justice, and strong institutions, both globally and in the countries in which they operate.
Companies of all forms – small and large, public and private, international and local – face challenges to operating in difficult environments. When companies and investors work to address these complex issues, they can mitigate the related risks and negative impacts. They can also ensure the long-term financial performance of the business, and play an important role in supporting peace and development.
Companies can mobilize power and bring people together at national and cultural level. They can create relationships based on a shared sense of identity and purpose, overcome differences that, in the wider society, are more difficult to overcome.
Businesses can play a key role in protecting ecosystems by innovation and finance protection
So, what can You and your company do?
Below I give you some examples of business actions that You and your company can take:
Companies can engage with the UN Global Compact on the three critical governance topics: anti-corruption, peace and rule of lawAt the micro level, companies can enhance good governance by integrating corporate sustainability principles into their own operations and relationships, allowing for greater transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.At the macro level, companies can contribute to the development and implementation of international norms and standards, for instance, as part of their commitment to the UN Global Compact.
Identify and take robust action against corruption and violence in own operations and the supply chain.Example:A furniture company partners with UNICEF to address child labour issues in India; its program includes setting up child protection committees and addressing the root causes of child labour such as debt, poverty, lack of access to education, disability and ill health.
Work with government to strengthen institutions and increase respect and support for the rule of law.Example:An IT company partners with industry peers to create a standard code of conduct to address hate speech online. This commits them to efforts to tackle illegal hate speech online and to develop internal procedures and staff training. The IT companies work with government and civil society to identify and promote counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives, and support educational programs that encourage critical thinking consistent with fundamental human rights.
Work with government and/or international institutions in areas of conflict and humanitarian crises to contribute to peace and institution building.Example:A shipping company dedicates a materially significant proportion of its fleet towards identifying and rescuing refugees on precarious boats. It works with local government authorities, NGOs, and multilateral agencies to rehabilitate the refugees in a manner consistent with international law and good practice.