Sustainability cannot be limited to a single department in a company, words in a glossy report, or on a poster on the wall.
It should be the focal point in every business' purpose.
To me, making a real difference for the world within SDG 6, water, and SDG 13, climate change, leads othe way.
Today, I have the pleasure of sharing these thoughts with world- and business-leaders at the UN Global Compact Leaders' Summit in New York. This, I am both honoured and excited to do. Because thinking businesses and sustainability in a common context is decisive. Not least in my business. The water business.
Water is actually in everything. To some it might be self-explanatory, but to many, it comes as a surprise. However, it is. This also goes for the SDG's. In fact, 15 out of the 17 connect to water.
My thoughts mostly revolve around goals 6 and 13. Clean water and sanitation and climate change. Two goals, which are very closely connected.
The need for water and sanitation on a global scale is evident - and the lack for equal access to both is one of the world's greatest risks in the future. Everybody needs access to drinking water to live, however, more than 663 million people lack access to it. That's a staggering figure. Another eye-opener is that 2.4 billion are without basic sanitation. Roughly one third of the world's population, at high risk of losing lives to waterborne diseases.
Meanwhile, climate change causes global water issues. Some places all too much water, other places way too little. Add to this, that solving the challenges takes a lot of energy and by this effect the climate as well, then it becomes evident that it's important to find long lasting solutions.
What we are trying to do with the SDG's is solving these issues. By 2030. That's not far away. Therefore, it's increasingly important that we all join forces and push for genuine change, which can make us able of reaching the very ambitious targets.
My claim is that without substantial action from the private sector, the targets cannot be reached.
My business can contribute with innovative water technology, which energy efficiently can move water to where it should be. This expertise, we have refined for decades, and I feel confident that our knowledge can make a difference.
What we also need is sustainable business models supporting the ambitious targets defined by the SDG's. Something, which is necessary not only seen from a global citizen's perspective, but also from a business standing point. Keeping with the water and climate challenges, these huge threats also poses very real risks to businesses and societies worldwide - and hold the capability of disrupting even the most firmly based institutions, companies and countries.
Therefore, what we come up with needs to be self-sustaining solutions. We need to make sure that resources put into solving these problems will not be one-time donations, but rather investments which can pay off and turned into reinvestments. We need commercial drivers in order to have a chance of fulfilling the ambitious and necessary goals we have set out to achieve together. We need to cooperate across NGO's, governments and businesses to succeed.
And we need to take action fast, together and in the right ways.