Protecting Nature, Increasing Biodiversity Could Generate $10 Trillion per Year, Create 400 Million New Jobs, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Business Forum

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the seventh Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Business Forum, held virtually, today:

Excellencies, business leaders, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining the seventh SDG Business Forum.  This year’s event has provided a much-needed space for business leaders to share their experiences and insights to overcome our common challenges — from the COVID‑19 pandemic, to the war in Ukraine and its impacts on food, energy and finance, to the escalating climate emergency.

The private sector is an indispensable partner in promoting investment in sustainable development and mobilizing financing to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Let me highlight two key messages from today’s discussions.  First, the business community should be a driving force to protect our global environmental commons, from climate action to ending pollution and restoring biodiversity.

Investing in biodiversity makes both environmental and economic sense.  Estimates by the World Economic Forum suggest that protecting nature and increasing biodiversity could generate business opportunities worth $10 trillion a year and create nearly 400 million new jobs.

And, as we are increasingly seeing, the destruction of biodiversity and natural systems is directly linked to the emergence of new pandemics.  I commend your discussions today and your resolve to do more to protect and nurture the natural world.

Second, business leaders need to re-examine the sustainability of their companies and align their corporate strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals:  to find relieve strains on global supply chains; to boost long-term investments in sustainability; to develop risk-responsive financing strategies; to prioritize investments in the sectors most vital to bolstering resilience, such as universal social protection and job creation; and to implement socially responsible labour policies.

The private sector must step up its efforts to achieve gender equality, leave no one behind and promote the well-being, capabilities and access of the most vulnerable people, including migrants and refugees.  People require equal access to finance, social protection and social services, and decent employment opportunities, without fear of discrimination or retribution.  As the Secretary-General has said:  “If we fail to reduce inequalities, we weigh down economic progress for all people in all countries.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Ten Principles of the Global Compact have never been more relevant.  I would like to echo calls made today for any companies that have not already done so to sign on to the Ten Principles. 

I count on your leadership and partnership to build a sustainable world of opportunity for all.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.