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What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Managing a company in the 21st century is more than simply chasing profit – it is also a responsibility for our environment and the community. Sustainable business practices should be the norm and not the exception, which is why education is so crucial to this cause. One way to build a planet-friendly business that serves the community is achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and following the closely related ESG strategy.

 tree in a staircase

Photo by Alexander Abero on Unsplash

The 2030 Agenda

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit of 2015 saw the adoption of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. The preamble introduces it as a ‘plan of action for people, planet and prosperity’, and presents its key objectives as strengthening ‘universal peace in larger freedom’ alongside ‘eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty’ - all vital conditions in sustainable development. Agenda 30 features the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which, if implemented by all Member States which ratified the framework, should lead to an improved quality of life and more effective protection against climate change.

 outlandish photo of the earth

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The SDGs – sustainable development goals

The Global Goals are meant to be the comprehensive answer to the most pressing problems of the modern world – all tightly interconnected, only completely eliminating them can contribute to building a better world.

  1. No poverty 
    • Eradicating extreme poverty, 
    • Implementing social protection systems, 
    • Guaranteeing equal rights to ownership of natural and economic assets,
       
  2. End hunger 
    • Ensuring all people have access to safe and nutritious food, 
    • Doubling farming efficiency and profits for small food manufacturers, 
    • Providing sustainable food production systems,
       
  3. Good health and well-being 
    • Reducing maternal mortality and infant mortality, reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, reducing road injuries and deaths, reducing illnesses and deaths caused by hazardous materials and pollution of air, water, and earth, 
    • Providing more effective prevention and treatment of substance abuse, 
    • Increasing health financing,
       
  4. Quality education 
    • Ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education and learning from pre-primary to higher education, 
    • Increasing the number of people with skills relevant to achieving financial success, 
    • Eliminating all forms of discrimination in education, 
    • Increasing the number of qualified teachers and higher education scholarships for developing countries,
       
  5. Gender equality 
    • Eliminating all discrimination and violence against women and girls, 
    • Recognizing unpaid labor and house care – providing appropriate social services and promoting collective responsibility at home, 
    • Providing access to sexual health services and enabling the exercise of reproductive rights, 
    • Strengthening legal frameworks promoting gender equality,
       
  6. Clean water and sanitation 
    • Providing common and fair access to safe drinking water and to safe and private sanitary conditions, 
    • Improving water quality through reducing pollution and hazardous chemicals, 
    • Increasing water-usage efficiency and supporting local water and sanitation management,
       
  7. Affordable and clean energy 
    • Increasing the usage of renewable energy, 
    • Doubling the improvement in global energy efficiency, 
    • Strengthening international cooperation and investment in clean energy research,
       
  8. Decent work and economic growth 
    • Increasing economic productivity and supporting policies in favor of job creation and innovation, 
    • Seeking to eliminate the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation, 
    • Eliminating modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labor, 
    • Protecting workers’ rights and promoting safe work environments for everyone, 
    • Promoting sustainable tourism,
       
  9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure 
    • Developing resilient and sustainable infrastructure and ensuring equal access to it, 
    • Using environmentally friendly technologies,
       
  10. Reduced inequality 
    • Promoting and strengthening social, economic, and political inclusion while eliminating discriminatory policies and practices, 
    • Protecting social and fiscal policies that promote equality, 
    • Monitoring and regulating global financial markets and institutions,
       
  11. Sustainable cities and communities 
    • Providing access to safe and affordable housing and transport systems, 
    • Advocating for sustainable and inclusive urbanization, 
    • Monitoring air quality and waste management in cities, 
    • Providing access to safe green spaces,
       
  12. Responsible consumption and production 
    • Promoting sustainable production and consumption programs, 
    • Reducing food waste, 
    • Ensuring environmentally safe management of chemicals and waste while reducing waste generation, 
    • Raising awareness of sustainable development and eco-friendly lifestyle,
       
  13. Climate action 
    • Enhancing resilience to climate-related and natural disasters, 
    • Working on stopping climate change, 
    • Increasing environmental education and awareness,
       
  14. Life below water 
    • Reducing marine pollution and introducing sustainable protections of marine environments, 
    • Lessening the impact of ocean acidification, 
    • Eliminating overfishing, illegal fishing, and other destructive practices,
       
  15. Life on land 
    • Ensuring sustainable practices in benefiting from terrestrial, freshwater, forest, and mountain ecosystems, 
    • Restoring degraded forests and pursuing reforestation, 
    • Ending desertification and restoring degraded land, 
    • Protecting biodiversity, 
    • Eliminating poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna,
       
  16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions 
    • Reducing all forms of violence and related mortality rates, 
    • Eliminating human trafficking and torture, especially of children, 
    • Reducing illicit financial flows, arms trade, and corruption, 
    • Promoting and enforcing non-discriminatory laws and sustainable development policies,
       
  17. Partnership for the goals 
    • Strengthening intra- and inter-national collaboration in accessing science, technology, and innovation, 
    • Promoting the development of eco-friendly technologies and encouraging their use, especially in developing countries, 
    • Increasing global macroeconomic stability and cohesion of sustainable development policies.

ESG factors

The ESG rating system measures the progress and potential of achieving Sustainable Development Goals by various companies, organizations, and countries. It does so by assessing their performance in the Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance areas. 

Environmental factor refers to the business’ impact on the environment and its actions towards planet conservation. Elements such as greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of carbon footprint, consumption of resources, or water and waste management are under scrutiny. 

The goals and activities related to this factor should be reflected by the actions described in the SDGs: Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land. 

Social factor reflects the organization’s impact on the lives of people: both its employees, as well as clients, local communities, and the entire supply chain. Principles under review here are equal and fair pay, diversity and inclusivity, promotion of wellbeing and work-life balance, anti-corruption policies, employee development schemes, but also community support, transparency, good relationships with business partners and suppliers. 
The Sustainable Development Goals related to the social factor are: No Poverty, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Reduced Inequality. 

Corporate governance factor refers to the organizational structure and company (or country) governance. Some of the important themes here are: the decision processes, management skills, fair distribution of responsibilities, as well as business ethics, inclusivity, and the cohesion of values with actions. 
The SDGs that correspond with this part are: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption and Production, Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, and Partnerships to achieve the Goal.

 

Here at Oakywood, we seek to fulfill the goals included in the SDG and ESG every day. Some of the key actions we take to do so are maintaining sustainable production, using only responsibly sourced materials, using green energy, offering climate-neutral delivery, and supporting organizations focused on reforestation. Apart from that, we care deeply about the work-life balance, and educate our readers on a healthy approach to work and productivity. Feel free to find out more about our social and environmental initiatives, and to follow us on the journey towards a better, more sustainable world.