Finance & Business2030 (FinBiz2030), an initiative that brings together finance professionals and business leaders to work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, will launch in Johannesburg this week. South Africa becomes the second region worldwide to implement the programme, following its unveiling in London last year.
Finance & Business2030 is a collaboration between Chartered Accountants Worldwide and One Young World; it came about from the awareness that change in how business and finance are conducted is needed to tackle the 17 global goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The South Africa launch will take place at Investec’s headquarters in Sandton on Thursday 6 February. Professionals from across a range of industries, together with entrepreneurs and representatives on One Young World will be in attendance.
The event aims to bring together the finance and business community as a force for positive social and economic change, and to encourage a commitment to tackle the issues towards achieving the long-term goals. At the launch, volunteers will be asked to join a task force that will meet regularly to discuss how to implement the goals.
The South African initiative is supported by SAICA, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, as well as One Young World and Investec, which is providing the venue for the launch event. Further regions around the world are due to launch their own FinBiz2030 programmes during the year.
Each region chooses from the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and applies them to its own situation. The South African group chose goals 4, 8, 10 and 13, which respectively cover quality education, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities and climate action.
The launch event taking place this week will feature four keynote speakers, each addressing one of the four SDGs. Tracey Davies, executive director of Just Share, will give her perspective on climate issues in South Africa. Shirley Machaba, CEO of PWC South Africa, will speak about reducing inequality, drawing on her experiences as a female in the workplace. Sizwe Nxasana, businessman and founder of Future Nation School, will consider the issue of education, while Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES (youth employment service), will address the goal of economic growth.
Lyle Malander, director of the Malander Group, who also sits on the FinBiz2030 UK task force and is a former One Young World ambassador, said that the chosen goals reflect both global concerns and issues of particular interest to a South African audience.
“From a worldwide perspective, climate change is very topical. Every single country needs to focus on that, and it’s not just for one country to address. Our second goal is to reduce inequality, and in South Africa there is a lot of inequality across the board in terms of race, gender, religion and economic status. There is a high unemployment rate of almost 30% and consequently high levels of poverty, so we need to make sure we have opportunities for everyone,” he said.
“We chose the goal of improving education because there is a large unskilled labour force in South Africa, and we need to improve access to tertiary education. Finance and business professionals are well placed to drive change through encouraging entrepreneurship and skills development, to empower people within our businesses.”
As part of its support for the initiative, SAICA is providing a slot in its monthly magazine to allow the group to publish articles reporting on developments it has taken and charting its progress towards the goals. This will give the initiative a platform to create awareness of the objectives of the task force and rally support from business leaders and finance professionals. “Our measures of success will be creating awareness around the financial environment and seeing measurable, positive change,” Lyle Malander added.
Follow the FinBiz2030 initiative on Twitter at #FinBiz2030