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UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN Global Goals, also known as the SDGs, are 17 goals that together make up the UN and its member states’ joint development strategy from 2015 to 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented by all member states. In doing so, the UN goes even further than its previous development goals, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which ran from 2000 to 2015, and which only made requirements of the more prosperous countries. As something new, the SDGs also focus on companies and organisations. To the best of their abilities, then, all companies need to find one or more Global Goals and actively contribute to the success of the goal(s). The vast majority of leading companies in the world are in the process of strategically working with the SDGs.

What do the goals entail?

The new 17 Global Goals cover everything from eliminating poverty (Goal #1) and ending hunger (Goal #2) to creating decent work and economic growth (Goal #8) and ensuring responsible consumption and production (Goal #12). Some of the objectives are aimed more at the challenges of poorer countries than others. Some of the objectives are best implemented through public interventions, and several of the objectives need direct action from companies to be achieved. However, most of the objectives must be achieved together.

The 17 Global Goals

1. No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

2. Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote agriculture.

3. Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.

4. Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

5. Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and strengthen the rights and opportunities of women and girls.

6. Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

7. Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

8. Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

10. Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

11. Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

12. Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

13. Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

14. Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

15. Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable developments, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

17. Partnerships for goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

This overview reflects the overall themes of the objectives, but under each goal, there are several targets, 169 to be precise.

What can companies use the Global Goals for?

Companies can use the 17 Global Goals to develop their CSR strategy by focusing efforts within one or more of the SDGs. In this way, the company’s CSR work can be strategically planned to fit the global agenda of the Global Goals.

Moreover, the goals can be used to signal that the company takes the sustainability agenda seriously and takes on social responsibility by helping to solve some of the challenges the world faces now and for many years to come.

How do you do it?

All 17 goals are noble and constructive. However, not all goals will be relevant to work with for all companies. A company will have to select the goals and targets that make sense for them.

Before the selection, several analyses will typically be carried out that can illuminate which parts of society the company is influencing negatively and positively now or in the future. This is typically where the company has to look for its Global Goal(s). The choice of Global Goals is usually close to the company’s purpose or mission.

Want to learn more about how you can use the UN Global Goals to make more money for your company? Click here


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