Chapter 12 MNCs engaging with the SDGs: the role(s) of non-government organisations
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The UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have helped to entrench the global sustainability agenda. Owing to their vast resources and global reach, multinational corporations (MNCs) are viewed as indispensable in implementing the SDGs. However, the transformational ambitions incorporated in the SDGs are such that a concerted effort from firms, governments and civil society is needed. In this chapter we ask What roles do NGOs play in facilitating MNCs' engagement with the SDGs? We investigate this question in the context of cross-sector partnerships. Based on a scoping review of the relevant literature, and interviews with a small group of leading NGOs in Europe and Australia, we identify four overarching NGO roles: resource provider, intermediary, standard setter, as well as advocate and mobiliser. These roles are not exclusive and individual NGOs may assume multiple, overlapping roles. Their unique status enables NGOs to catalyse the creation of (SDG-related) social value in cross-sector partnerships with MNCs and other parties. NGOs, many of whom have been working on sustainability issues for decades, are valuable partners in and of themselves. Moreover, they are also crucial in convening and sustaining broad sets of partners. As such, NGOs are uniquely suited to supporting MNCs' engagement with the SDGs.

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