The Ultimate Win-Win: Your Business and the SDGs.
Updated: Aug 21, 2018
Did you know that over 1,500 private companies took part in guiding the development of the SDGs?
Surprised? Corporations around the globe possess a large stake in achieving the SDGs, not only because these goals aim to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, but also because they present profitable opportunities for business-led solutions and technologies to be developed and implemented to address the world’s biggest sustainable development challenges. Businesses comprise the combined talents of countless individuals and boast enormous capital reserves. Ignoring the detrimental impact your business can have on worldwide development just won’t do, both because of the rise in smart and conscious consumers and because there is simply no future in “business as usual”. Business as usual means continuing to rely on fossil fuels, the use of which contributes to our already alarming CO2 emissions. Business as usual perpetuates social inequality and a colossal level of waste. For a primer on what direction to take, check out The Guardian’s page on sustainable businesses.
After a tumultuous 2017, businesses in 2018 are expected to do more work for the common good. The good news is that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) departments have been added to most major companies and they must produce meaningful results to remain in good public standing (Forbes has an intriguing piece on what to expect this year). From companies acting in accordance with the Paris Agreement (#climatechange) to overturning workplace sexual harassment (#metoo), you will be able to see solutions to social problems that plague both rich and poor countries.
Corporations also have it in their own interest to take a nobler path. Some of the tangible outcomes businesses can achieve by embracing the SDGs are as follows:
-Identifying future business opportunities. Investment in new healthcare technology can reveal an untapped market serving people who currently live in poverty.
-Strengthening their brand. As shoppers become more sustainability savvy, they will put their money where their mouth is, purchasing goods and services from companies with a proven sustainable track record.
-Stabilizing societies and markets. Simply put, unsustainable societies are bad for business. Implementing the SDGs will lift millions out of poverty to increase consumer markets. They will enable stronger educational systems to train smarter workers. Additionally, they will usher in a safer working environment for women and minorities while maintaining healthy ecosystems.
Businessfor2030 outlines specific plans from the corporate sector to tackle the SDGs. The site conveniently orders the projects by goal or company, so you can get a concrete takeaway of how companies, (even those conventionally viewed as uncaring), are investing in a sustainable future. The genius of this site is that, by making this information available, the public can hold companies accountable and take them to task if they don’t fulfill their pledge. Consumers may use this site to choose which businesses to support based on the goals they care most about. Business owners can use the database for sustainable models to follow or to locate potential partners.
There are many more advantages of pairing your business with the SDGs. A comprehensive overview can be found at the SDG Compass website. They offer a 30-page pdf outlining business goals as a free download. Whatever level your business is at, this resource can greatly help to align its operations with the SDGs. Another lifesaving resource from unglobalcompact outlines how your company can advance the SDGs goal by goal, so you can stay informed on the latest policy and research based on specific causes.
Co-hosted by the UN, Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs looks to support startups that are working to achieve any of the SDGs. If your startup aligns with one of these causes, then enter the competition for a chance to receive funding and mentorship. You can also connect with us on social media to help spread the word or become inspired to get further involved with the campaign. Achieving the SDGs will require our combined input and creativity, so we urge you to get involved in whatever way you can.
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