Brazil State Gushes Over SDGs, Insists Companies Take the Plunge

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Itaipu hydropower (Pedro Dias/Pixabay)

Brazil’s Paraná State may be taking the United Nations’ sustainable development goals for 2030 more seriously than almost any other political jurisdiction on the planet. Silvio Barros, secretary of state of Paraná, told a UN forum in July that his government will channel procurement funds only to companies with SDG strategies.

“All the state’s investments are tied to specific goals,” Barros explained. “We are also directing all the purchasing power of the state to companies and investments that are tied to the goals. Actually, we do not see any reasons why we should spend public money in companies that are not supportive of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs.”

Through the Global Compact, 9,800 companies in 164 countries have pledged to align their strategies and operations with human rights, labor, environmental and anti-corruption principles.

Parana sits south of Sao Paulo along the Atlantic Ocean and borders Argentina and Paraguay. Among the state’s most famous and productive assets is the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam shared with Paraguay. The massive plug produces more electricity than any other dam in the world as the Parana River surges through its turbines.

The state’s leaders are quite energetic too. Parana is aligning its development with the SDGs across the towns and cities in the state. Municipal administrators are being trained to develop projects with businesses that follow the SDGs. And the state budget is integrating sustainable development themes aligned with the UN goals.

Parana’s all-in approach may show state and local governments everywhere how international aspirations can flow into a local agenda and illuminate social and economic change.