How business leadership can advance Goal 9 on Sustainable Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Industry, infrastructure and innovation are key drivers of economic growth and social value creation. Sustainable industrialization can lift communities out of poverty but needs to be managed carefully to avoid additional pressures on people and planet. In ldeveloping countries alone this requires a $1 trillion gap in annual investment spending needs to be addressed. Industrialization and, more broadly, economic development crucially depends on quality, reliable infrastructure. Without it, communities and businesses remain deprived of access to markets, quality products and services, and jobs. Globally, 2.6 billion people cannot access a reliable electricity source and over 4 billion do not have internet access. As these gaps are filled, industry and infrastructure assets must be resilient to changes in social, economic, and environmental conditions. To achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialization and deliver quality, resilient infrastructure, technological and process innovations must be developed and deployed at scale.
As producers, employers, investors, and innovators, businesses are fundamental to achieving Goal 9. Business delivers through its research, development and deployment of technologies and processes, and its financing and production of capital assets and infrastructure. But business is also instrumental in creating an enabling environment for innovation and investment through its engagement with other stakeholders such as Governments on innovation, policy, and accessibility to their intellectual property and other assets. Business, of course, has an obligation to comply with relevant laws designed to protect people and the environment. However, responsible business practice moves beyond strict legal compliance toward supporting internationally recognized standards of conduct.