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Why the SDG’s Are a Great Place to Start When Developing a Corporate Sustainability or ESG Strategy

By 28 September 2022November 13th, 2023No Comments

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emerged from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and serve as a call for action moving forward. The 17 goals recognise the problems facing the developed and developing world and aim to improve health, education, inequality and the economy while working to preserve and improve the environment.

The 17 SDG’s consist of:    

  1. End poverty 
  2. Zero hunger 
  3. Good health and well-being 
  4. Quality education 
  5. Gender equality 
  6. Clean water and sanitation 
  7. Affordable and clean energy 
  8. Decent work and economic growth 
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure 
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production 
  13. Climate action 
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land 
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions 
  17. Partnerships 

While developing a corporate sustainability strategy, your organisation probably feels like it needs a starting point. SDG’s are an excellent foundation for your organisation, providing a comprehensive guide to long-term planning when it comes to sustainability. The SDG framework can help measure impact and give employees context to their sustainability efforts. 

If your organisation is passionate about pursuing positive change, the SDG framework can provide the most impactful and purposeful direction for pursuing transformation. 


The SDGs and Business

The United Nations lays out a blueprint for business leadership when it comes to achieving the SDGs. The blueprint highlights that ambition, collaboration, accountability, consistency and intentionality are invaluable to business strategy and creating impact when it comes to achieving SDGs. 16,540 companies in 158 companies have decided to join the goal UN in realising the SDGs, and more companies are urged to join. 

The blueprint includes action steps and principles for specific issues, giving your organisation a helping hand when it comes to maximising its positive contribution to the cause. These principles give you an excellent understanding of how to achieve the most impact in relation to the cause when it comes to the marketplace, work place and the community. 

The UN also promotes partnerships for businesses that are pursuing the SDGs. These partnerships can help networking, resource development and collaboration when it comes to achieving a more sustainable future. Tackling global challenges requires teamwork and business collaborations can lead to far greater innovation and impact. 

While the SDGs are laid out to tackle world-wide issues, it remains important that business engage with local communities as well. This means that even organisations with supply chains across the world must find a way to make responsible business choices across a variety of social, cultural and environmental landscapes. The UN’s Global Compact Local Networks helps guide organisations when it comes to navigating sustainability commitments in every country. 

The SDGs are full of guidance, support and frameworks to help get your organisation’s sustainability journey off the ground. While many organisations may feel they want to contribute to achieving greater positive impact, they may feel daunted due to a lack of direction. The SDGs are therefore an excellent pathway to joining the sustainability effort. 


The SDGs as part of ESG

Using the SDGs as a foundation for your sustainability journey has many benefits. It provides much needed guidance and support while also measuring impact, providing your organisation a more accurate and informed understanding of actions.

The SDGs are also increasingly becoming globally recognised as highly advantageous to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, according to Conservice ESG. With ESG outcomes becoming more widely measured, the SDGs provide an invaluable helping hand to achieving high ESG ratings. With more companies acknowledging the SDGs in their reporting, it is becoming evident that they offer a realistic and encouraging framework with which to address social and environmental issues. Through the use of these goals, companies can better assess their ESG impact and goals.

As part of our suite of stakeholder engagement tools, we have released our SDG Priority tool – free to use, it helps you highlight the key SDGs from your perspective within your business. You can use it here.


The SDGs and the Individual

“For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to be doing their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you” – The United Nations 

The SDGs are relevant to all members and groups of society. Even as an individual, the SDGs can give you excellent guidance when it comes to promoting and achieving a better future. However, for a more personalised set of goals, Futerra in collaboration with other stakeholders, have created the Good Life Goals. They take the key themes of the SDGs and provide tangible, everyday action for an individual to use:

The Good Life Goals consist of the following:

  1. Help end poverty 
  2. Eat better
  3. Stay well
  4. Learn & teach 
  5. Treat everyone equally
  6. Save water
  7. Use clean energy 
  8. Do good work 
  9. Make smart choices
  10. Be fair 
  11. Love where you live
  12. Live better
  13. Act on climate 
  14. Clean our seas
  15. Love nature 
  16. Make peace
  17. Come together 

For further information on the Good Life Goals and how to achieve them, visit the SDGhub website. If you ever find yourself asking “what can I do?” the Good Life Goals are an excellent starting point to understanding our impact when it comes to sustainability.

Sustainabl can help you define the SDGs that are most relevant to your business

  • How do you determine your priorities when it comes to the SDGs?
  • How do you combine the SDGs with existing business strategy? 
  • What approach would be most impactful when it comes to achieving the SDGs?

We have built an easy to use tool to help you begin answering these questions and it will establish an excellent starting position when it comes to developing corporate sustainability and ESG strategies. The results can be shared with your team and stakeholders and provide valuable data and insight into reducing emissions and building social value.

You can use our SDG tool free here. For a consensus view from all of your stakeholders, please get in touch.

Try our free SDG tool