Environmental sustainability is an integral component of development. Whether we refer to climate-resilient development, inclusive wealth, or the green economy, the meaning revolves around the nexus between the advancement of human well-being and safeguarding the health of a fragile biosphere that envelops and supports such objectives. Adopting a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will place the nexus between poverty alleviation, human security and the Earth systems and resources at the core of the development agenda. Deciding on a set of SDGs is likely to remain a contentious political process. Compared to the paradigm-changing but broad definition of sustainable development elucidated by the 1992 Brundtland Report, the SDGs need to concretise what sustainability entails across diverse development objectives. This will be a crucial achievement; and yet, only the first step toward advancing the implementation of a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. This article considers the place of novel governance mechanisms such as global public-private partnerships in the implementation of the SDGs.