Drivers or spoilers – What can we expect from the private sector?

In order to eradicate extreme poverty and ensure lasting and sustainable human development actors from all sectors need to cooperate and contribute. To fulfill the post-2015 vision, new partnerships – especially with the private sector – have been called for by both the High Level Panel and the UN Secretary General. It has however not been clearly formulated how these new partners should play in.

Event details

Date:3 February 2014
Venue:Medelhavsmuséet, Fredsgatan 2, Stockholm

All of the above was discussed in a seminar arranged by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation on the theme of the private sector involvement in the post-2015 agenda.

“Decent Work should be at the centre of this new development agenda. Trade unions don’t only bring Decent Work goals to the table, but are also prepares to work with other actors to realise these goals”, said Ramon Certeza who is working for the TUCP (the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines).

Trade unions, as part of civil society, have a big role to play to change the society. They are concerned about the growing inequality, the lack of job, and the growing precariousness of the employees. There are many people who have been left behind, especially in the developing countries, Certeza explained.

“We want a decent job so we can eat and put our kids in school”, he added.

The High-Level Panel report on the post-2015 development agenda emphasizes that large corporations must account for their social and environmental impact by reporting on their progress or explain why they don’t – a so called “comply or explain” regime. The question is whether this will be enough or if binding agreements are needed to make change happen? Another crucial question is if the private sector is ready for the transparency and scrutiny this will imply?

“The development agenda is about eliminating poverty, but has not been very successful when it comes to sustainable growth – that is a big challenge for businesses”, said Anders Nordström, specialist in energy efficiency, climate change and corporate responsibility at the ABB.

ABB see seven mega trends shaping our future: Digital information; Resource efficiency; Green economy; Urbanization, Electrification, Transportation and mobility; and Emerging economies. “Our behaviours and business models are not sustainable. Which we know. When will we have to change?”, asked Nordström.

ABB fight low-cost competition all around the world every day. Many companies don’t feel the pressure to engage, nor do they know HOW to engage, according to Nordström. Big brands need to defend their brands in a different way than smaller companies. But when it comes to the largest barrier against development, Nordström is clear: “Corruption, corruption, corruption!”

What IS sustainable finance? We have a growing old population, we have a growing number of people owning a bigger part of the wealth, we are trying to a way to integrate sustainable economy in how we work the bank, said Sasja Beslik, head of Responsible Investments & Identity at Nordea Bank.

“The pimary driver for us who work in the finance industry is money. But we understand that creating money in the future is related to development – inequalities in the world creates pressure. The financial sector is not providing products that include sustainable choices for customers”, Beslik continued.

Beslik also pointed out that when the CEO of any company in the world meets with the investors, maybe only one of many of them talks about sustainability in investment. “How does the millennium goals relate to companies? Most companies don’t know that answer”, Beslik concluded.

This seminar intended to address the following questions:

  • What are the incentives for the private sector to engage in the post-2015 agenda?
  • Is it possible to combine the demand for growing revenues with sustainability?
  • Is it time to go from CSR, “name & shame” and peer-pressure to a mandatory framework? If yes – what should it comprise of?
  • Which role and what contributions could be expected from the private sector?


Sasja Beslik is Head of Responsible Investments & Identity at Nordea Bank. He has more than ten years of experience in work on environmental and social aspects, having worked with both Swedish and international companies. Mr Beslik is one of Sweden’s most prominent CSR-experts and was recently given the award for ‘Sweden’s most influential and inspirational person under 40 and in 2011 Mr Beslik got the title Young Global Leader at World Economic Forum in Davos.Mr Beslik is also chairman of UNEP Finance Initiative’s Water Work Group. He is a former journalist with a degree in Economical History.

Ramon Certeza is Assistant General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), working mainly on trade and workers’ rights issues. Mr Certeza is the former Director for Education and Research of the Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS-TUCP) and Project Coordinator of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGWLF) Philippine Office. He has also worked as campaign coordinator for Play Fair. Mr Certeza finished his Masters Degree in Labour Policies and Globalization from the University of Kassel and Berlin School of Economics in Germany in 2006.

Anders Nordström is Group Senior Sustainability Advisor at ABB. He is a specialist in energy efficiency, climate change and corporate responsibility at the ABB Group’s global sustainability function. He advises ABB’s businesses on social, human rights and environmental issues in company operations. Anders holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering Physics and a Doctor’s degree in Materials Physics from KTH in Stockholm. He serves on the Strategic Advisory Panel of the German Climate Service Center and is a member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights.


For further information, please contact Malin von Strauss, UNDP, 0702-30 82 53, malin.vonstrauss@undp.org or Erika Beckman, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, 076-541 10 12, erika.beckman@dhf.uu.se

This event forms part of the seminar series ‘After 2015 – The road towards the next global development agenda,’ jointly organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and UNDP Nordic Office, running throughout 2013 and 2014. The next seminar is to take place in late February 2014. More information to come!

For further information, please visit www.millenniemalen.nu or www.dhf.uu.se/after-2015.

This seminar was streamed live and commented on twitter with #2015privatesector