Officials and business leaders at the Boao Forum for Asia on Tuesday called for enhanced efforts from the private sector to partnering with governments to achieve more sustainable development.[Special coverage]
Speaking at a panel discussion during the forum, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin said the private sector has a key role to play to jointly promote efforts with governments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Set by the United Nations in 2016, the SDGs set targets in 17 areas for sustainable development, including specific targets in poverty and inequality reduction by putting the world on a more sustainable economic, social and environmental path by 2030.
"The business sector is able to participate through providing more financial support, as there is a huge financing gap to be filled to achieve the goals," he said.
Although the global poverty rate has been halved since 2000, intensified efforts are needed to lift people out of extreme poverty, according to Liu.
Data from the United Nations showed by the end of 2016, almost 10 percent of the world's workers earn less than $1.90 per person per day.
Mark Moody Stuart, vice-chairman of the United Nations Global Compact, said the business sector is able to find business opportunities by partnering with governments to pursue the goals, for instance by investing in infrastructural construction.
Such opportunities can be found in China's Belt and Road Initiative, which is expected to play a key role in helping to achieve the 2030 targets, as they both aim to achieve sustainable development, and promote win-win cooperation, regional development and prosperity, according to Stuart.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won emphasized the social value companies should and could create, and said companies should develop innovative business models that can also advance social values, and align their business models to achieve more sustainable growth.
The company has been supporting social enterprises and looks for more ways for commercial corporations to advance social value creation.
Sustainable business models could unlock new market opportunities worth $12 trillion and create up to 380 million jobs by 2030, according to an earlier study by the UN Business and Sustainable Development Commission.