The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the first global strategy addressing the most pressing social, environmental and economic barriers to sustainable growth and prosperity. The private sector has been called upon to contribute with new solutions, new business models and new technologies that can contribute to solving the challenges facing humanity and our planet today.

Our journey with the SDG Accelerator for small and medium-sized enterprises started with a joint ambition to demonstrate how the private sector can use the challenges addressed by the SDGs as a starting point for business innovation. We wanted to explore how the SDGs could be translated into a practical framework for accelerating business innovation by starting the ideation process through addressing concrete societal or environmental needs.

Albert Einstein once said that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. The world’s use of resources, our production and consumption patterns, the way we design our cities , our transportation system and financial infrastructure all need to be revitalised to meet the needs of future generations.

To succeed, we must find pathways to turn global challenges into local business opportunities; we must empower our business leaders with actionable tools and inspire them with frontrunner cases so that they can support the journey. Finally, we need to create new collaborations across industries, sectors and silos to foster new thinking and innovation.

During the last two years we have supported 32 SMEs to use the challenges embedded in the SDGs as lever for development of new products, business models and services. In this Blueprint, we showcase the great cases and learnings from the SDG Accelerator for SMEs 2018 and 2019. The key learning stand clear: private SMEs are well positioned to create innovative commercial solutions to the social and environmental challenges we face as humanity.

We hope that the Blueprint will be used to inspire other companies to start their journey.

 

Preface by Camilla Brückner, Director, UNDP Nordic Representation Office, Thomas Hofman-Bang, CEO, the Danish Industry Foundation and Anders Dons, CEO, Deloitte Nordic.