Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Special Issue of Transnational Corporations on the role of the Multinational Corporation in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Special Issue of Transnational Corporations on the role of the Multinational Corporation in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Transnational Corporations 

Special Issue on the role of the Multinational in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Proposed Title: MNEs and the Sustainable Development Goals
Editors: John Dilyard, Ph.D. and Caroline Witte, Ph.D.

Dear Fellow Scholars and Researchers: 
The highly successful Town Hall meeting, ‘How the AIB Community Can Best Contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’, held at the 2016 AIB Annual Meeting in New Orleans generated several ideas for research on the link between the private sector, particularly multinational enterprises (MNEs), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a way to both highlight existing and encourage further work on this topic, we are proposing a special issue (and potentially a series of issues) of Transnational Corporations, UNCTAD’s policy-oriented journal on MNEs (TNCs), FDI and development. UNCTAD is one of the leading agencies supporting the implementation of the SDGs, and has a long-standing partnership with the AIB. The first special issue is planned for early 2017 to coincide with the 2017 AIB conference in Dubai and its theme “The Contribution of MNEs to Building Sustainable Societies”.

As was discussed in New Orleans, IB research is shifting increasingly toward the relationships between MNEs and developing countries, sustainability, socially responsible investment, socially responsible behavior and public policy. The scale, scope and ambition of the SDGs creates an opportunity for IB research to systematically analyze these relationships and to serve as an advocate for both the promotion of sustainable practices by MNEs and the design of policies to support them. And while there are many resources devoted to the private sector and sustainability, academic work specifically linking the private sector to the SDGs is sparse. Our proposed issue, therefore, helps fill a void. 
The Sustainable Development Goals can be found here. Further information on the related Financing for Development (FfD) and 2030 Action Agenda (for the SDGs) can be found at the webpage of the UN Inter-agency task force on Financing for Development. In addition, the Business for 2030 initiativeillustrates how the UN envisions private sector contributions to the SDGs. Work on the SDGs is also being done by the UN Global Compact ( and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development ([] Examples of studies and resources can be found on the latter’s SDG Business Hub.

We are interested in contributions on relevant themes, perhaps linked to your existing work, on the role of the MNE in achieving the SDGs. While our focus is on developing countries, we recognize that the SDGs apply to all countries and that interesting work on how MNEs contribute to the implementation of SDGs in developed countries may exist. We are looking first for ‘op-ed’ and essay style contributions that are lightly referenced rather than heavy quantitative and/or theoretical analysis. The purpose here is to facilitate new, yet concrete, ideas that can generate ongoing research and policy discussions. Hence, we are interested in research agendas and perspectives in support of meeting specific SDGs (or targets within SDGs), but we also invite short empirical or theoretical papers for which the criteria for robustness, thoroughness or completeness are not as high as those for a typical journal submission. Because the SDGs involve many different scientific disciplines and are highly interconnected, we also encourage interdisciplinary efforts. The review process will include the editors of the issue, as well as editors of TransnationalCorporations. 

The following topics are meant to illustrate the range of possible submissions:

  • To what extent do the SDGs influence (international) business conduct?
  • How can MNEs support and promote poverty alleviation?
  • What is the role of MNEs in promoting gender equality, particularly in developing countries?
  • How can the pursuit of sustainable supply chains in MNEs contribute to the SDGs?
  • What are the characteristics of successful public private partnerships in support of the SDGs?
  • How could the SDGs affect MNEs’ value chains?
  • What is the link between MNEs’ corporate social responsibility activities and the SDGs?
  • What are the governance implications for MNEs if they choose to commit to the SDGs?
  • Which characteristics or contexts make MNEs more likely to actively contribute to the SDGs?

The theme of the special issue is dependent on the number of initial submissions received and the topics they address. 

  • Length of contributions: Between 2500-5000 words.
  • Submission deadline: February 28, 2017.

Please send questions regarding this special issue and submissions to either:
John Dilyard, or
Caroline Witte