Sustainable Development Goals and what they mean for businesses.

For those who have not heard of the SDGs before – they are, so to say the wold’s strategy on how to change our planet towards sustainability. They consist of 17 separate goals, the UN member states have committed to achieve by 2013 [1]. 

The video below gives you a brief overview of the single goals. I also recommend you to check them out in depth here.

It is needless to say, that almost every aspect of civil society, politics, the environment and especially the economy will be affected in order to reach these goals by 2030. That is the reason why it is so important to make yourself familiar with these goals and to think about what is going to be your part in reaching them– privately as well as in your corporate context.

On the one hand, the SDGs will put pressure on businesses e.g. by new laws or standards, on the other hand they offer great opportunities for companies to grow while having a positive impact for the people and the planet at the same time. By putting the SDGs at the heart of your companies’ strategy, you are able to align it with the global priorities and will be prepared for the future [2].

As there are less than 10 years left to reach the goals which were set in 2015, action has to be taken quickly. And by quickly, I mean very urgently – a lot more and faster than in the past 5 years. 

Since the SDGs are very specific and measurable, we know exactly where we standing. The “Sustainable Development Solution Network” shows what we have achieved so far in real time [3]. But there is an issure with reliable and timely correct data. Tuuli-Anna wrote an interesting blog article on her blog “4circularity.com” about the importance of the exact and timely data with regards to the SDGs. It’s really worth reading it – you can find it here.

I recommend you to read the SDG Compass if you wonder how to integrate the SDGs into your organisation. The guide provided by the UN and other organisations explains  how the SDGs can be incorporated in a business context. It offers a 5-Step scheme which helps companies to integrate the SDGs which are most important for the business (see image below) [2].

Figure 1: 5-Step plan to incorporate sustainability in a business context
Source: SDG Compass – The guide for business action on the SDGs

I am curious what your business or organisation is doing to reach the SDGs by 2030, please let me know in the comments below.

Sources:

1. The Sustainable Development Agenda – United Nations Sustainable Development. un.org, (n.d.). https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/ (accessed August 2, 2020).

2. SDG Compass – The guide for business action on the SDGs (GRI; United Nations Global Compact; wbcsd).

3. SDGs Today: The Global Hub for Realtime SDG Data. unsdgs.org, (n.d.). https://www.unsdsn.org/sdgs-today (accessed August 2, 2020).

1 thought on “Sustainable Development Goals and what they mean for businesses.”

  1. Thank you for referring to my blog post on the importance of data timeliness and data coverage. The SDGs provide an holistic framework for measuring environment, social and governance impacts. We have ten years to change the tide and reach the Paris agreement. In this challenge, proper tools for measurement and active communication of the results are in an important role. Businesses are eager to engage with the global goals (SDGs) but lack effective measurement tools to show their impacts. With businesses contribution, we can still achieve the 17 goals.

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