PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Collective action by business, governments and civil society to achieve scale and transform markets

Jane Nelson


Report commissioned by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission


Partnerships are a valuable tool to drive change toward more responsible, inclusive and sustainable growth. They can help to address some of the market failures, governance gaps and trust deficits that undermine the acceleration and scaling of business engagement in sustainable development. They can also serve as a platform for convening and coordinating the diverse actions of numerous actors and for building mutually reinforcing linkages between different sectors and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But without more business-to-business and cross-sector alliances, meeting the SDGs will not be possible. The paper offers five pathways to businesses for building better partnerships, including:

  1. Strengthen pre-competitive business alliances to leverage industry-wide standards and joint action.
  2. Participate in joint financing and innovation platforms to deliver specific goals.
  3. Support collective initiatives to harmonize sustainability data and reporting.
  4. Expand coalitions that are integrating sustainability criteria into capital markets.
  5. Coordinate policy dialogue and investment in key cities, landscapes and countries of operation

The report reminds readers that the ability to galvanize and convene other stakeholders to co-create effective partnerships has become one of the essential leadership imperatives for the 21st century.

The full report can be accessed here.

The Executive Summary of the report is available here.