Contribution to Index Initiative study on the role of the private sector in the Sustainable Development Goals

October 21st, 2015

Index Initiative is a newly founded organisation that develops indices to “encourage and inspire companies to initiate positive change.” In light of the release of the Sustainable Development Goals, seventeen major objectives for the international development agenda, Index Initiative published the report ‘Unravelling the Role of the Private Sector’. This landscape study identifies areas in which industries from the extractive-, transformative-, and service-sectors have positive and negative impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals.

NewForesight contributed to this landscape study with our knowledge on agricultural commodity traders, analysing the role of these companies in agricultural supply chains. With our experience in promoting and implementing sustainable business practices in tropical export crop farming, we provided background on the contribution of this industry to society in general, of wider stakeholder expectations of agricultural commodity traders, and highlighted some companies that have an impact on environment, society and rural development. Some important findings include the companies’ potential to improve rural livelihoods and provide opportunities for employment and education, but also risks related to conflict over land rights and contribution to climate change.

As a result of our work with Index Initiative, agricultural commodity trade has been chosen for a full feasibility study for which a methodology for an index for this industry will be developed, according to which relevant companies will eventually be ranked. This is a great opportunity for applying our thought leadership on these topics, and we strongly believe that the increased transparency of an index will urge companies into a ‘race to the top’ for sustainable agricultural production, processing and trade.

The study can be found here.