Gaining momentum in the global corporate sector, among sovereign governments and institutional investors -- the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs"). After reaching agreement in September 2015, the countries of the world adopted goals to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure prosperity for a greater number of the world's population through a universal agenda for action (with 169 specific targets under the wonderfully-aspirational broad goals).
The nation-states of the United Nations are now busily adopting the SDGs to address their issues, some broad and experienced by many nations, others more specific in impact on the country. The goals include climate change-related issues; the growing scarcity of natural resources; adoption of absence of, new technologies; continuing growth of cities at the expense of rural areas; water, water, water; reducing poverty; empowering women...and more. The SDGs are in force out to year 2030 with many milestones between then and now.
There are 17 major categories of goals and 169 specific targets within these, for attention by all sectors of society out to year 2030. Are you on board? Your company or organization?
Matthew Yeomans (founder of Sustainly, and author of the annual Social Media Sustainability Index), writes for Sustainable Brands on the opportunity for organization leaders to align their efforts with the SDGs to work with governments, NGOs, and other companies to address the challenges through a commonly-understood framework for engagement and action on the issues (inherent in the 17 goals).
Aligning the company with the SDGs could help companies in key areas: for marketers, or corporate communicators, the actions taken could be embedded in a campaign for customers (consumer, business, public sector). The corporate storytelling could bring data and metrics to life and help guide customers to the company's core sustainability reporting that might otherwise be overlooked or disregarded (perhaps thinking, is this reporting just PR?). The SDG focus could help to underscore a company's serious commitment, authenticity and transparency regarding actions on the SDGs.
Author Yeomans provides brief examples with Wal-Mart Stores (addressing poverty, women empowerment), Pearson's (quality education for all) and Stella Artois (clean water). Highlights are in the Sustainable Brands post and there's a link to more information at Sustainly.
The G&A Institute team has been focused on the SDGs and helping our corporate clients to better understand and "adopt" material goals and the targets and key performance indicators under the broad goal, those that can be more "naturally" aligned with the adopted corporate mission and overall strategy and implementation of the corporate sustainability journey.
For example, Goal 6 is to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all." How to do that? We help corporate managers understand the "natural" alignments available to them within the goals/targets, and explore ways to "adopt" the goal and make it an integral part of the company's sustainability journey. What are the KPI's that will matter? What are the "water issues" of importance to the company and its stakeholders? What can the company do to address water availability, water use in products, waste water, protection of public water supplies, making water supply more secure in the communities in which it operates? And more....
What are the data sets and metrics that will help the company to adopt operations to the goal(s) and later make the storytelling about all of its progress a more compelling tale? What are the important stakeholder relations to begin, or to enhance if a relationship exists? What are the natural alignments within the industry or sector that can form a collective approach (perhaps through trade association) to address critical issues? What is the ROI for the company? How to determine these and then measure progress (or lack of)? And finally, how to build the progress into the various reporting schemes, including the company's GRI report?
If you need more information on these aspects of the SDGs for adoption by your company, please let the G&A team know. We'd love to set up a call to discuss SDGs with you!
This is just a sample of some of the articles from this weeks SustainabilityHQ Highlights. You can view the full Highlights by using the following links. Sustainability | ESG, Highlights for the Week of April 6, 2017.
KEYWORDS: Media & Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, SDGs, sustainable development goals, UN Sustainable Development Goals, GRI, SRI, SWF, csr, Governance & Accountability Institute, G&A Institute, Corporate Citizenship, sustainability, business & trade, Sovereign Wealth Funds