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What are the
Sustainable Development Goals?

The roadmap for a sustainable future

There is no planet B

Embracing the Power of Sustainable Development Goals for a Brighter Tomorrow

The rallying cry "There is no planet B" echoes across social media, protests, and blogs, underscoring our collective responsibility to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. This entails a mindshift in how we heat homes, power our lives, and build capacity in our workforce for a surge in green jobs.

Consumer voices amplify this call while governments navigate the path to legislated change. The tide of pressure and policy advocacy continues to swell, with Europe taking the lead under The Green Deal, followed closely by nations around the Globe passing Climate Acts and Net Zero targets, amongst others, to meet The Paris Agreement commitments, and latterly, commitments to The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

But sustainability encompasses more than climate action; it's about weaving sustainable development into the fabric of economic growth. We believe in going further than Social Value, evolving ESG and going beyond net-zero, towards a truly sustainable future.

What is the business benefit of being sustainable?

Embracing the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our roadmap.


Why do we choose the SDGs as our framework? As Ban Ki-moon aptly stated, "Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth – these are one and the same fight." Sustainable development is our conduit to a desired future. At SDG Changemakers, we wholeheartedly endorse the UN's SDGs, recognising them as the blueprint for meaningful change.

Sustainability is more than a trend or a destination; it's a continuous and multidimensional pursuit encompassing education, jobs, health, commercial viability, and equitable growth. It's about thriving within the bounds of our planet. We employ a triple-bottom-line accounting process to assess the impact on people, the planet, and profit.


The rewards are many:

  1. Amplified brand loyalty

  2. Heightened competitive edge

  3. Elevated productivity, lowered costs

  4. Enhanced financial opportunities

  5. Diminished carbon risk, improved energy efficiency

  6. Bolstered employee retention and attraction

  7. Personal satisfaction for doing the right thing

The transition to sustainability gained traction in 2020-2021, as the corporate world realised that adopting "green" practices enhances brand image and garners customer loyalty. Genuine sustainability yields competitive advantages and cost savings while opening up new business opportunities and embracing social inclusion.

What are the sustainable development goals?

“We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.” Ban Ki-moon

The SDGs are a comprehensive framework, eclipsing Social Value and evolving ESG standards. They encapsulate the essence of sustainability, extending beyond net zero and guiding every business, government, and NGO decision. These goals embrace inclusive growth, shaping a green economy and defining green-collar jobs.

Each of the 17 goals—with 8-12 targets—contributes to a mosaic of interconnected themes. Though complex, the global impact is undeniable, echoing the web of consequences that connect us all.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals as they are also referred to, are:

  1. SDG1: No Poverty

  2. SDG2: Zero Hunger

  3. SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being

  4. SDG4: Quality Education

  5. SDG5: Gender Equality

  6. SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation

  7. SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy

  8. SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

  9. SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

  10. SDG10: Reduced Inequalities

  11. SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  12. SDG12: Responsible Production and Consumption

  13. SDG13: Climate Action

  14. SDG14: Life Below Water

  15. SDG15: Life On Land

  16. SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  17. SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals

While the list might seem overwhelming at first, on closer inspection, it is obvious that the themes are interconnected, and as we have seen with the pandemic, bleaching of the coral reefs, impact on global supply chains and melting of the ice caps, an action in one part of the world has a knock on effect in another.
The SDGs have been criticised for setting contradictory goals and for trying to do everything, but as noted above, the realisation that we, and the issues we face are all closely interconnected is more apparent than ever.
As sustainability consultants, when  we look at sustainable business models, we consider all the 17 goals, which can be grouped into social, environmental and governance themes. We explore how sustainable activities associated with the goals can be embedded in value and supply chains, bringing positive social and environmental impacts and economic benefits.

How can organisations contribute to the sustainable development goals​?

One quick win for sustainable development is for organisations of all sizes to understand the SDGs and why they are important, then look at how they can operationalise the goals into their business models, ensuring key performance indicators are benchmarked and have achievable targets.

To help in this process, Professor Jeffery Sachs (a hero of the SDG Changemakers team!) and others identified six SDG transformations as the building blocks to achieving the SDG targets: 

  1. Education, gender and inequality

  2. Health, well-being and demography

  3. Energy decarbonisation and sustainable industry

  4. Sustainable food, land, water and oceans

  5. Sustainable cities and communities

  6. Digital revolution for sustainable development

Sustainability must be regarded as central to a business's operations, values and mission, not an add-on, helping the global economy move from a linear to a circular model.
Communication is critical to this process, internally with staff and board members and externally across all stakeholder groups. Shifting the shareholder mentality to one of stakeholder is also crucial, along with influencing positive behaviour change towards sustainable consumption and production.

How do we measure impact?
Planet B
What are the sustainable development goals?
How can organisations contribute to the sustainable development goals

While the SDGs themselves are simple enough to understand in concept, measuring them can be more complicated.

At the macro level - the Sustainable Development Goals Index is a useful tool to explore. The Index uses complex formulae and the 247 SDG Indicators to calculate progress at a country level. The data sets used to derive these results come from many sources - for example, SDG 13 Climate Action; by combining satellite imagery, crowd-sourced witness accounts and open data, deforestation globally can be tracked.
As data is the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability, it is crucially important that at the micro-level,  businesses can track and report against sustainability-focused KPIs authentically, transparently and robustly.

There are numerous tools, frameworks and voluntary sustainability standards available to SMEs, social enterprises, corporate foundations and large companies; while sometimes overwhelming, the key is to keep it simple and based on materiality assessments.
To find out more, why not book a Discovery Call.

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