Joining forces with private sector for sustainability outcomes

WBCSDIn March, two representatives from Arizona State University attended the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s 2017 Liaison Delegate meeting in Montreux, Switzerland. Amy Scoville-Weaver represented ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO), and William Brandt attended on behalf of ASU LightWorks. The WBCSD is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. The conference, Roadmap for Impact in Today’s Reality, focused on the drastic political changes over the past year, implications for sustainability and the critical opportunity for the private sector to engage in new ways on sustainable development. As part of the conference, WBCSD released its CEO Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals. Attended by nearly 400 sustainability professionals from the world’s leading companies, the conference included a working group on how higher education institutions can produce business students trained in sustainability and on FReSH, a program to accelerate transformational change in global food systems. The tone of the conference was hopeful, signaling the opportunity for both the private and academic sector to continue to engage in sustainable development and re-shape traditional environmental governance strategies. In September 2016, ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) established a new Knowledge Partnership with WBCSD to promote sustainable development through the global business community. Since then, CBO has established an ASU-wide leadership team, including Scoville-Weaver and Brandt, to advance goals associated with the partnership. Together with WBCSD, ASU’s team has shaped a collaborative research agenda to address a variety of topics important to the global business community, including the valuation of natural capital, sustainable food production, alternative energy technologies, reducing ocean waste, sustainability education and advancing circular economy innovation.