sustainable development goals

How Any Company Can Support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed upon back in April, when global leaders came together to discuss in Paris. The goals are a huge step forward, but are audacious, and may seem a bit overwhelming at first glance.

The SDGs cover a wide variety of topics related to sustainability, including climate action, hunger, education, gender equality and more. Many of the quantitative target goals are very specific such as, eradicate extreme poverty for people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day, by 2030.

It's easy to support the ideas behind the SDGs, but how can businesses that don’t provide a sustainability-focused good or service help contribute to achieving these goals?

Goal number 12, Responsible Consumption, might be the most straightforward way for businesses and individuals to help contribute to the success of the SDGs. The UN says that the implementation of responsible consumption “helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.”

Simply put, we can all play a part in by making sustainable purchasing decisions. We can all do this on an individual level, but large organizations, whether B2C or B2B, have huge market influences, buying power and a platform to continue the discussion around the importance of responsible consumption.

Consider a large hotel chain. They may not develop water sanitation technology to achieve Goal 6 around ensuring access to water and sanitation for all, however they do have the ability to install high-efficiency toilets and shower heads, create guest policies to reduce the amount of laundry, step up their recycling capabilities and more. Now take these changes and multiply them by the hundreds or thousands of properties that hotel chains have around the world.

The act of procuring thousands of environmentally friendly products for hotels spurs the production of these products, and by placing them in their hotel rooms it creates awareness around the importance of sustainability and water conservation – which in itself is a target goal of the SDGs.

Whether you’re buying thousands of water efficient toilets for your hotel chain, ordering fruit from a local farmer’s market for your start-ups office, or just buying an Energy Star® appliance for your home, by making smart purchasing decisions you and your business can help contribute to the achievement of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn how Sony Electronics engaged its employees in its environmental efforts. Read the Case Study.