With less than 10 years left to meet the bold imperatives set forth in 2015 by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the key question now is how can we achieve all 17 targets by 2030? The answer is that we all have a part to play. And it requires governments, corporations, and individuals all paddling in the same direction.
In the first five years of the SDGs, we made solid progress across the globe. Unfortunately, we took significant steps backwards in 2020, according to the most recent Goalkeepers Report. Thankfully 2021 brings hope.
On Friday, the Biden Administration rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. In combination with halting the withdrawal from the WHO, this move placed climate change as a top priority for the United States. Strong leadership and a clear domestic and foreign policy signals a major change for America and sets the stage for us to get back on track.
Biden’s climate agenda is intertwined with his economic agenda. The administration is taking a more holistic approach to fighting climate change with a unified plan to achieve the SDGs. This includes a framework for how businesses and government need to work together to get us there.
On the corporate side of things, change is happening. The intersectionality of the issues—from poverty and inequality, to health and sustainability—is undeniable. What may on the surface seem simple, the daunting SDG targets need multifaceted, comprehensive, and collaborative approaches to solve.
By now, most companies have recognized the truth behind the strategy of "doing well by doing good." Many have made commitments toward the SDGs, as well as other audacious environmental or social impact goals for the years ahead.
Individuals are also starting to answer the call. Research shows it is good for business. 90% of citizens say it is important for businesses to sign up for the SDGs and more than three quarters report that they are more likely to trust, remember, and want to work for a purpose-driven company. Now, companies need to walk the walk and bring their visions to life.
It begins with understanding where you are now and where you want to go. Here are three ways companies can continue to move forward to achieve the SDGs:
1. Evaluate Against the SDGs
Companies must use the SDGs as a framework to understand the various ways to test positive and negative impacts of your business on your employees, communities, and the globe. The SDGs also provide sub-targets for each goal and a set of 483 indicators that can help identify the key metrics for your organization. An SDG evaluation can be both the baseline for change and identify key areas of future growth.
2. SMART Goals
Companies must set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. It is great to have the bright north star of Zero Emissions or Carbon Neutrality guiding you. But, without intermediate milestones and a specific plan for how to get there, companies will not be able to mobilize across the organization.
3. Empower Your Employees with Purpose
Companies must share the goals and responsibilities across all departments. The more we view the SDGs and sustainability as essential for business, the greater your impacts will be. With the right tools in place, employees can get creative with implementing the targets into their daily work, finding innovative solutions, and collectively amplify results and the bottom line.
If you are looking for more ways to embed ESG within your corporate culture or strategies to build climate leadership and engagement within your organization, request a demo of WeSpire’s Sustainability module to see how we can help you engage your employees to meet your SDG and sustainability goals.
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