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The role of purpose-led business in addressing the SDGs and creating value for society

On Thursday 27 September 2018, Royal DSM organized a lunch discussion in the New York Public Library on the role of purpose-led business in addressing the SDGs and creating value for society.

During the session, World Bank President Jim Kim gave a keynote speech about the important transformation of the operation of the World Bank, enabling a more practical engagement with both the private and public sectors to facilitate the financing of the delivery of the SDGs, especially around poverty and inclusion.

World Bank President Jim Kim

Moderator Erika Fry from Fortune Magazine talked about the trust deficit and the opportunity for business leaders to close the gap by acting responsibly for all stakeholders.

Professor Rebecca Henderson of Harvard Business School shared ground-breaking research into the link between truly purpose-led organizations and measurable business success.

An energetic panel discussion followed with several leaders from business and beyond on the implications and practicalities of blending the expectations of the financial markets (both short and long term) with the needs and wants of society.

Professor Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School

The panel included Sven Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara International, Rich Lesser, CEO of BCG, Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Sarah Williamson, CEO of FCLT. In a lively conversation, including questions from the audience, they made clear how important it is that the private sector jointly addresses the SDGs.

At DSM, we feel the weight of responsibility to engage all our capabilities, competences and capacity in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. We know that there are many other organizations committing in the same way - it was great to hear the compelling stories of the participants.

It is this belief that compelled us to take the plunge and organize the event, and we have received many kind comments and messages of support and congratulations, including from those not present but who heard about the event.

As our CEO Feike Sijbesma shared: there is a clear role for business in society, since nobody can be successful in a world that fails.