The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (often just referred to as ‘SDGs’ or ‘Global Goals’), were launched in 2015 to provide a foundation for individuals, companies and governments working towards sustainable change. They were set up by the United Nations General Assembly with an ambitious target of changing the global narrative by 2030 and they target a range of topics – from poverty and inequality to sustainable cities and climate action. These are underpinned by a further 169 targets, the central commitment of which is to Leave No One Behind. It’s a powerful sentiment that clearly recognises the importance of working together in making progress towards sustainable development.
Each SDG is reviewed every four years by an independent group of scientists and the UN Secretary General also presents an annual report on the progress being made. This report is developed in cooperation with the UN System and is based on the global indicator framework and data, produced at both a national and regional level. Unfortunately, the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report was a stark reminder of how far we are from achieving these sustainability goals.
According to the UN press, “at the current rate of investment, it will be impossible to achieve the SDGs by 2030. This is bad for people, bad for society, bad for the environment and bad for business.” We all know that more needs to be done. By including the Global Goals (and sustainability in general) in our day-to-day lives, education systems and – of course – our businesses, we can work towards achieving this milestone together. But how should organisations approach the UN agenda? And how can they adopt the goals? We’re already seeing an influx of rules and regulations, so sustainability is clearly growing in momentum and the SDGs can be a useful tool in understanding and mapping your commitment to specific areas of sustainable development.