Having achieved several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN, with much wider consultation than back in 2000, set out to develop the new framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are in draft form at present.
With 17 new goals to be achieved by 2030, the big question is – how might the new framework and SDGs impact how we go about corporate sustainability and CSR in the foreseeable future? Will the collaboration between governments, NGOs and the private sector have even more success in support of solving the world’s poverty and environmental challenges?
For us in the private sector that probably depends on how easily the goals can be incorporated into company target setting and if we are able to align our corporate social purpose with one or more of the goals. For instance Unilever’s framework and strategy gives an example of how this could work in practice. In a way, the more goals which we have, the more we have to choose from when linking to company business strategy and sustainability programmes – and if broken down into a set of indicators that can be aligned to business opportunities and the corporate social purpose, we should see companies being able to get involved.
There has been some criticism however about there being too many goals and too broad an agenda, but honestly I would not get too hung up on that. Focus and align with the opportunities for your company to positively impact these SDG targets and your own.
At a conference in Manila that I attended recently, Shifting Gears – Fostering Sustainable Value, partnership and companies’ purpose beyond profit was debated on and off the court, so to speak. Profit beyond purpose to achieve long term growth, and aligning that social purpose with that of an NGO’s and government with a similar purpose, must be the way forward for balancing wealth globally and mitigating climate change. A successful company is worth little in a broken society with depleted resources after all – as the UN says – The MDGs: Everyone’s Business and many are getting involved already through Business Call to Action.
The SDGs are due to be finalised in March 2016 with detailed indicators and to be formally launched in New York September 25th 2015. Corporate Citizenship is launching a SDGs blog series this week. In the countdown to the launch in September, and to support business and identify opportunities, one SDG per week will be discussed by the team. Let us know what you are doing in your company to help deliver on the SDGs.
You can view Corporate Citizenship’s full SDGs 2015 blog series here.