Update: our open letter was published in The Times on Monday 16 January. Read our blog and see a copy of the letter here.

UKSSD is coordinating an open letter to the Prime Minister in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We are calling on the UK Government to show active leadership on the implementation of the SDGs both at home and overseas. To encourage the Prime Minister to take action we are proposing a joint open letter to her from UK businesses, and we are therefore inviting private sector organisations with an interest in sustainable development to support the letter.

We will place the letter as a full-page advert in a national broadsheet on Monday 16th January to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos (17-20th January).

The text for the letter can be found below as can more information under Q&A. You will see that it has been written by and on behalf of UK companies, explaining that the SDGs are important to the future UK economy and asking the PM to commit to delivering the SDGs domestically as well as internationally.

The Davos conference is only a few weeks away and we would like to complete the design of the ad, including the logos of participating companies, before Christmas. If you would like to support the letter we would need your agreement to use your logo, and a copy of the logo itself, by Friday 6th January. Please write to chair@ukssd.co.uk to confirm your involvement.

Letter copy

Title: Sustainable development is good for UK business

Dear Prime Minister,

As a group of businesses investing in making our economy fit for the future, we support sustainable development in the UK. This is essential for our long-term prosperity and the wellbeing of generations to come.

The UK Government played a leading role in developing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and adopted them just over a year ago. As businesses, we’re ready to take responsibility and work with the Government to make sure the SDGs are delivered in the UK and around the world.

Sustainable development will create jobs, increase competitiveness and secure the natural resources our economy relies on.

We support your Government to:

    • Demonstrate to business your commitment to deliver the SDGs in the UK
    • Work with businesses to deliver the SDGs, creating a transparent reporting framework and clear benchmarks
    • Require all departments, not only the Department for International Development, to work with business and other stakeholders to develop an SDG delivery plan

Together we can build a fairer, sustainable and more prosperous Britain.

Yours sincerely,

Company logos will appear here


What do I need to do now?

If your company would like support the letter, please confirm as soon as possible and no later than Friday 6th January. Please send your logo to chair@ukssd.co.uk.

By this date we will need a high-resolution eps file of your company logo. If it’s more straightforward for us to deal directly with your brand team, please send us their contact details.

We would also like to hear from you if your company can contribute a small amount to the cost of this project – see more detail below.

What is UKSSD (UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development)?

UKSSD is an open platform that supports public, private and voluntary organisations working towards sustainable development in the UK. It’s a multi-stakeholder platform encompassing businesses, NGOs, academics and government at all levels. More information is available at www.ukssd.co.uk

What’s the objective of the letter?

We want the UK Government to acknowledge the importance of the SDGs and the UK’s role in delivering them both domestically and overseas through its policy decisions. The key message is that sustainable development is essential to the UK’s economic prosperity. The letter is a direct call to the Government from UK businesses.

What will the letter look like?

It will be a full page colour ad with the letter text undersigned by the logos of all the participating companies with UKSSD identified as having coordinated the letter. The design of the ad will echo the UN’s colourful SDG iconography.

This is a similar approach to the ‘Business Backs Low Carbon Britain‘ letter that UK businesses placed in the Financial Times in June 2015 and was successful in helping to influence the Government’s approach to the Paris climate conference.

Which other companies will be involved?

UKSSD will be approaching companies engaged in many aspects of sustainable development and also those that supported the ‘Business Backs Low Carbon Britain’ letter.

We have had a fantastic response so far and would like to thank everyone that has already confirmed their support for the letter. Companies that have already confirmed their support include Vodafone, Aviva, Coca-Cola, Mars, Standard Chartered, Pearson and The Body Shop.

What other activities will coincide with the letter?

On the day of publication we will post a news story on the UKSSD website, including a list of participating companies. We will also publish a blog that goes into more detail about the importance of the SDGs and their relevance to business.

We will support the letter with a press release, which we hope will generate coverage in the other business media. This will all be amplified through UKSSD’s social media channels.

We encourage participating companies to share and amplify the letter on their own channels and can offer support for this.

The letter itself will be posted to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for International Development. After the Davos conference we will monitor for the Government’s response and may do some follow-up communications as a result.

We will be printing copies of the letter, including company logos, to distribute at events and for other face-to-face advocacy opportunities in early 2017.

The outcome of the letter and next steps on this agenda will be discussed at UKSSD’s conference on 1st March. Businesses are very welcome to send a representative. We have further activities planned for 2017 to engage political and business audiences on the sustainability agenda, including a joint event between UKSSD and BOND on examples of SDG implementation overseas. Please contact us for more information about any of these activities.

Does each company need to pay to be involved?

We are looking for a wide range of businesses to join this initiative and funding is not a condition of participation. However, as a non-profit organisation, UKSSD would welcome any financial support to help meet our costs. Please let us know if this might be possible.

Can we suggest changes to the copy and artwork?

Given that we are involving a number of companies and have hard deadlines to adhere to, it will not be practical to open the copy and design to amendments. However, you will be given a chance to see the final artwork and you can let us know if you have major concerns that might stand in the way of your participation.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions?

The letter is being coordinated by UKSSD. Please direct all queries to Francesca Burton at chair@ukssd.co.uk or 01483 412496.

UKSSD open letter to the Prime Minister: Business Backs the Sustainable Development Goals

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