Once staunch opponents of state interference, companies are now being asked to work with governments to deliver the ambitious global development agenda. We look at the rules of engagement in the new B2G landscape

The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have changed the dynamic of the relationship between business and government. Rather than adopting opposing positions, and negotiating concessions from each other, they find themselves now mainly on the same side, unified by shared goals.

Unlike the MDGs, which were drawn up by a small group of individuals working in the UN head office, the SDGs were borne of the largest and most inclusive consultation programme in the history of the UN, of which the private sector was an important part. The Global Business Alliance for 2030 was formed during the 2013 UN general assembly, bringing business organisations and global companies - from multinational corporations to local SMEs - together to “strengthen and inform the intergovernmental deliberations at every step of the way”.

This is explicitly recognised in SDG 17, the goal to revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development, which “brings together governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilises all available resources”.

The political landscape of 2017 is like nothing the world has ever known. While there is no doubt that globalisation has brought huge benefits to many, it has also been a...

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