On 16-18 November, the ‘India and Sustainability Standards: International Dialogues & Conference’ hosted by the Centre for Responsible Business was held in New Delhi. The conference focused on global and national voluntary standards, and how these can play a positive role in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular lens on India.
On the first day, Anouschka Jansen, FTA Senior Manager Environmental Programmes, participated in a panel discussing various actors and approaches in promoting responsible and sustainable business for achieving the SDGs. Ms Jansen provided a brief introduction to the FTA and its members, explaining how the SDGs are a welcome component to FTA’s membership services, which are already built around existing frameworks such as the ILO Conventions, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Business, Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) Environmental Reference Tools and OECD Due Diligence Guidelines and Principles.
She listed a number of ways how the SDG Global Framework can be used by businesses and business associations, such as:
- stress-tests for a company’s or organisation’s strategy, by mapping the relevant SDG and targets;
- stakeholder outreach, by focusing on a common SDG or target;
- relevant and material communication on activities and progress made in terms of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines; and
- identify relevant local programmes and approaches, such as in India, while still being able to link them back into the global framework.
Ms Jansen stressed that any framework, legal or voluntary, business or otherwise, needs to consider small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and how it affects them. She continued to explain that FTA has a strong focus on SMEs, as they make a large proportion of the association’s member base. In addition, she explained that also supply chains, factories, have many SMEs mainly within the so-called Tier 2 and 3 layers such as the sub-contractors working for a larger company, which should not be forgotten. ‘Leave no man behind’ was a catch-phrase often heard that morning, and referring to this she asked that we do not create separate pathways towards sustainability for large companies versus SMEs, but ensure that frameworks and tools facilitate all companies to journey together.
The panel discussions were led by Arun Maira from the Planning Commission of India, Ernst Ligteringen from GRI, Susanne Dorasil from the German Embassy in India, Professor Raj Kumar from the O.P. Jindal Global University as well as Deepak Arora from the Essar Foundation.
For more information, please contact Anouschka Jansen, FTA Senior Manager Environmental Programmes.