September 19, 2016

Tata group collaborates with DNV GL on the 'Future of Spaceship Earth' report

New global forecast launched at UN headquarters; report states extraordinary action needed to achieve the sustainable development goals

Dr Mukund Rajan, member of the Group Executive Council, brand custodian and chief ethics officer, Tata Sons, speaking at the 'Force for Good' discussion that showcased global companies driving extraordinary progress on each of the global goals at the UN headquarters

New York: Will the world achieve the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030? What can business do to lead the charge? DNV GL set out to answer these two critical questions in its new forecast examining the future of our ‘Spaceship Earth’. The report concludes that, while many of the goals will make good progress across several world regions, action will not be fast enough or fair enough and will come at an unacceptable environmental cost. However, there is still time to reset the course of our ‘Spaceship Earth’. The report showcases 17 global companies driving extraordinary progress on each of the global goals.

One year after the SDGs’ launch, businesses, governments, organizations and individuals everywhere have started to work towards the global goals. However, the ‘Future of Spaceship Earth’ forecast shows that none of the goals will be met in all regions of the world. Likewise, no single region will achieve the necessary progress towards all the goals. The scale of the challenge is such that urgent, extraordinary action is now needed.

Business is uniquely positioned to drive this magnitude of action. The report highlights 17 global companies at the frontier of progress on the SDGs; Tata, Danone, HiTechnologies, ARM, Symantec, Grundfos, SolarWorld, NYK, Hydro, Safaricom, Siemens, Marks & Spencer, Iberdrola, Cermaq, APP, Calvert Investments and Unilever. These pioneers are driving sustainable change through innovations, partnerships and adjustment of business models. The SDGs have become a blueprint for companies to reshape and future-fit their business.

Group president and CEO of DNV GL, Remi Eriksen, says: “For the most part, business has the technology, people and processes to rock the world. The challenge, therefore, isn’t the ‘smarts’, it’s the take-up of the solutions proposed and piloted – the real scaling of these interventions.”

All the companies featured in the report are signatories to the UN Global Compact, an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and thus contribute to a sustainable future. The forecast report launch was co-hosted with the UN Global Compact at the UN headquarters in New York. The co-chair of the UN Secretary-General´s SDG Advocacy Group, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, provides a foreword and received the report during the week of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.

The Tata group is one of the key Indian global enterprises to have collaborated with DNV GL on the report. Dr Mukund Rajan, member of the Group Executive Council, brand custodian and chief ethics officer, Tata Sons, said, “The SDGs present an unprecedented opportunity for business-led solutions to help address the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges. SDG 1 aims at eliminating poverty and is one of the most critical goals. Businesses, therefore, have a significant role to improve access to basic goods and services for people living in poverty, deploy inclusive business models that generate employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, and develop innovative products that address the needs of the poor. The Tata group demonstrates its commitment to the SDGs through various approaches aligned to its business and through CSR efforts that embody its mission statement, ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust.’ We are extremely happy to have collaborated with DNV GL in the publication of this report and look forward to partnering with different stakeholders to contribute in achieving the SDGs by 2030.”

Watch the launch event at UN headquarters here

Find more information about the ‘Future of Spaceship Earth’ forecast and download the report here.

Key findings from the ‘Future of Spaceship Earth’ report

  • None of the global goals will be met in all regions of the world
    • Moreover, not even half of the goals will be met in any of the regions.
    • We need to step up our collective efforts to reach the goals.
  • The world is making progress towards most of the global goals
    • Health (3), Education (4), Water and Sanitation (6), Energy (7) and Industry (9) have the most positive outlooks.
    • We are also moving in the right direction on several other goals, particularly for human development such as Poverty (1), Hunger (2) and Gender Equality (5).
  • The progress is not fair enough
    • Least progress is likely for Reduced Inequality (10), with forecasted red indicators in all regions.
    • Within countries, the inequality gap will continue to widen – and between counties, developing nations will continue to lag behind.
  • The energy transition is not fast enough
    • The replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources is underway.
    • On the current trajectory, we will exceed the carbon budget by the year 2037, entering an increasingly dangerous climate change territory.
  • The energy demand will level off
    • From 2030 onwards, improvements in energy efficiency will outweigh population and productivity increases.
    • Energy demand will level off as a result of lower fertility rates linked to urbanization and education. Lower productivity growth in more mature service economies also lead to energy demand levelling off.
  • Lack of climate action is a showstopper
    • Lack of sufficient progress on climate action forms a barrier towards achieving most other global goals.
    • It will be increasingly difficult to achieve most of the global goals in a world with increased climate change.
  • Business is ready for extraordinary action
    • Private sector has a key role to play, representing 60 percent of the world’s GDP. Business can be the swing factor: the actions companies choose to take have the power to amplify change – for good or for bad.
    • The business case for sustainable development is showcased in the report with examples from frontier companies taking extraordinary action for the global goals.

17 UN Global Compact members are contributing with their insight:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Company Country HQ
1. No poverty Tata India
2. Zero hunger  Danone France
3. Good health and well-being  HiTechnologies Brazil
4. Quality education  ARM UK
5. Gender equality  Symantec US
6. Clean water and sanitation  Grundfos Denmark
7. Affordable and clean energy  SolarWorld Germany
8. Decent work and economic growth  NYK Japan
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure Hydro Norway
10. Reduced inequalities  Safaricom Kenya
11. Sustainable cities and communities  Siemens UK and Germany
12. Responsible consumption and production  Marks & Spencer UK
13. Climate action  Iberdrola Spain
14. Life below water  Cermaq Norway
15. Life on land APP Indonesia
16. Peace and justice  Calvert Investments US
17. Partnerships for the goals  Unilever UK & the Netherlands