The Sustainable Development Goals are part of the 2030 Agenda. They represent a global plan to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all on a healthy planet. Achieving these goals will require unprecedented levels of innovation, infrastructure development, and sustainable economic growth. Businesses have an essential role in achieving these goals-particularly because they are key drivers of innovation and provide goods and services that meet basic needs around the world. The SDGs were adopted by all 193 United Nations Member States at UNCED in September 2015 as targets for global action with specific time frames to reach them (by 2030). The SDGs cover 17 areas including energy, education, agriculture, health care access, or quality. All countries agreed to develop national plans based on. To know their economic value, businesses must recognize the value of sustainable goals and join efforts to achieve them.
What the SDGs Mean for Businesses
The Sustainable Goals are a way of ensuring that the progress made by businesses in their local communities aligns with global efforts to address the challenges of sustainable development. It means understanding how your company’s products and services can help achieve these goals, actively searching for new opportunities to engage with them, and expanding your company’s relationships within the community to support the SDGs.
How Businesses Can Engage With The SDGs
Businesses can engage with sustainable goals in four key ways.
1) Focusing on impact sourcing
Ensuring responsible sourcing practices, including business relations with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and partners is a business priority.
It includes employees who are paid fair wages, have safe working conditions, adequate benefits, reduce the environmental impact of the supply chain with greater use of recycled materials, reduce waste through proper recycling processes, and so on.
2) Ensuring that business products and services positively impact sustainable goals
Businesses should understand how their products and services impact the different Sustainable Development Goals and take steps to ensure they align with them. It is not as simple as “making a profit.” It means thinking about the positive impacts on the SDGs that could arise from selling a particular product or service.
Doing so will require businesses to open their processes to greater stakeholder involvement and understanding of how their products are being good news for consumers, but potentially daunting for businesses.
3) Investing in new products and services that support the SDGs
In addition to focusing on existing products and services, businesses should be working to create new ones to support the 2030 Agenda. It can include new industry-specific approaches and technologies, but even more than that it means finding ways to engage with sustainable goals that might not have occurred to you yet.
4) Actively creating positive change in the communities where businesses operate
Engaging with the SDGs is not just about business activities that influence sustainable goals, it also means considering how your company can contribute to their advancement more directly through local actions and initiatives. Every community has its unique challenges and needs that will influence how a business can contribute to the SDGs. Finding ways to engage with sustainable goals in your community is a way for businesses to have a local impact.
In addition, governments can help by updating regulatory structures and creating incentives for sustainable practices from both within the government as well as those who do business with them. This includes considering how government purchasing can support SDGs, and how local communities influence sustainable goals.
There is a strong economic incentive for businesses to engage with Sustainable Goals. Not only because doing so positively impacts their bottom line, but because it can help bring about positive change in communities across the world.