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RESEARCH BY CONSULTANTS Frost & Sullivan and GlobeScan with business network CSR Europe has shone a light on trends in global transformation that are shaping the future of societies and their economies. In 2007, interviews with business leaders around the world identified more than two-thirds who thought investment in sustainability gave them a competitive advantage or an opportunity for growth.

Nine years later, this figure had risen to three-quarters, with strategic partnerships seen as the most focused strategy. Nearly half the CEOs surveyed believed growth into the next decade would depend on this collaboration. However, technology is speeding up the need for working together in order to navigate an increasingly complex future. The authors believe the convergence of these two factors will open up new ways to create value.

Collaboration between public organisations and the private sector — including on financing and risk management — is an important catalyst in supporting a focus on Sustainable Development Goals.  Innovation hubs have sprung up around the world from Beijing to Birmingham.  There are numerous strategic arrangements involving local authorities and their Tier 1 suppliers for managing the risk of working with startups that are implementing new ideas, such as apps that engage customers and deliver new insights on their needs and behaviour.  Small to medium-sized enterprises are helping address working conditions, climate action, responsible consumption and production, health and wellbeing, industry innovation, and equality.

To illustrate this, the report analyses how universal Quality Education (Goal 4) can help address hunger, poverty, gender inequality, and ability to find decent work. Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, creates a chance to build infrastructure for energy, transport, water, waste and healthcare. This is also a catalyst for tech innovation to make living spaces more collaborative, inclusive, navigable, informed, safe and enjoyable, the report says.

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