There is a growing phenomenon of ‘co-opetition’ in the private sector – a challenging, but potentially very rewarding, mechanism for firms to address major technological challenges. Co-creation is also on the rise in technological, fast-moving markets, where innovation is a co-evolutionary process between innovative companies, their supply chains, and their customers. The stronger the links between the various parties, the more innovation is accelerated.
These collaborative mechanisms can boost collective impact from business for social change. Yet, partnerships can be messy, and the difficulties of managing them are proportional to the scale of the problems they are intended to solve. Within the private sector, it may be true to say that no company has been more active, visible, or successful in forging partnerships for sustainable outcomes than Unilever.
“The conversations I have had over the past months have been about a structural framework for partnerships, a lot around blended finance and what that means, and a lot around new partnership models and different ways of working," says Rebecca Marmot, Vice President, Global Partnerships and the Unilever Foundation. "So many of the SDG indicators rely on private sector involvement in one way or another, and I think there is growing acceptance, even enthusiasm, for more involvement from the private sector."
For Marmot, seeing the unity between the global goals of tackling poverty and climate change is paramount. “If you can’t get the climate issue right, then the development issues by nature fall behind because so much of the impact of the climate is particularly felt in the developing and emerging economies.”
For the complete forecast on SDG 17: Partnership for the goals and the full Unilever story, download the report.