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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

How Can Corporates Work with Government to Achieve Sustainability?

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

When the Global Goals for Sustainable Development were launched in September 2015 at United Nations HQ in New York, there was an understanding that we needed far more than just government participation in the 2030 Agenda in order to realise its achievement. With the goals needing trillions of dollars of financing per year in order to be achieved, the world needs corporates to make genuine and tangible commitments to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future.

Public-private partnerships, or PPPs, are essential to sustainable development. PPPs occur when there is private investment in public infrastructure. There are two main models of PPPs. The first is a concession model in which the user pays. An example of the concession model can be seen in some of the major motorways which require users to pay a toll. The second model is a Private Finance Initiative model which is less common. This is where the government contracts a private enterprise to manage a project. It is important to note that this is not privatisation as the government still retains the ownership and accountability of the project. An example of this can be seen in a number of Australia's correctional facilities where the government has contracted a private organisation to manage these.

PPPs take an innovative approach to traditional methods for development projects. They allow a greater access to capital as well as off-balance sheet borrowing, providing some flexibility in the government budget.

In order for PPPs to succeed, the government needs to ensure the relevant legislature is in place in order to contract private enterprises to provide public services. In Australia, we are fortunate that the legislature is rather advanced in this area. It is also important that there is a clear direction of the project in question with a solid plan for the future. Transparency is key in PPPs, both for the government and for the private organisation. Above all, cooperation is paramount. It is necessary for the government and the private organisation to work together and look for mutually beneficial solutions to any issues or conflicts which may arise. The priority must always be the end goal: an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future.

The United Nations is now recognising PPPs as one of the key methods of achieving the Global Goals. Target 17.7 of the 2030 Agenda states that countries need to "encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships".

By committing to sustainability and the achievement of the Global Goals, your organisation can place itself in a fantastic position to tender for any appropriate contracts through a PPP. To find out more information about a sustainability commitment and / or a commitment to the Global Goals, contact a member of our team via the form on our website.

This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.

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