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The Sustainable Development Goals: How Can They Help Me?

In 2015, world leaders came together to construct a blueprint for collective action against the global challenges of poverty, inequality, environmental damage, prosperity and peace and justice, with sustainability as the pillar to their success. To make these challenges appear less menacing and more manageable, they designed 17 “Global Goals” and broke each down into specific targets and indicators to achieve by 2030.  The Goals provide direction in achieving a more sustainable world, defining the precise actions that contribute to “sustainability” – that vague yet aspirational buzzword so often thrown around.

As the name suggests, the Global Goals are ‘global-based’, not ‘government-based’ and rely on diverse actors streamlining their efforts through partnerships and collective action. So if you’re not quite sure where your impact fits into the picture, sit down and read up. Speaking the SDGs language shows that you’re part of the solution, and is attractive to the investors, consumers, governments and partners who are increasingly using it as a framework to decide who to do business with.

There’s 17 of them. Learn them, love them and latch on to them – they’re all in fashion and will be for many seasons to come.

Behind each of these colourful little icons is a set of specific targets which provide a measurement of their success and tell us what the goals actually involve. For example, Goal #4: Quality Education is split into 10 targets with specific indicators to track their progress. Each big goal is comprised of far too many detailed targets to fit in this blog (thus the nifty visual above), but understanding that increasing the proportion of youth with ICT skills is a part of achieving ‘Quality Education’ is very useful, as it encourages efforts to be directed to providing ICT training to people and places without access. By showing allegiance to these collective targets through concerted action, organisations and individuals not only help to solve the daunting challenges we face, but also demonstrate their sophistication and consciousness as an entity.

How SDGs Impact Charities

Donors and corporate partners are increasingly pressuring Charities to prove their impact and show just where donations are going. Aligning the important work your Charity does with the globally-recognised SDG targets makes it easier for your followers to recognise the significance of your Charity’s actions. It also captures the attention of businesses and governments who are keen to ‘partner up’ and finance action towards these targets.

Why SDGs Matter to Businesses

Ernst & Young assert that aligning business goals with the Global Goals is a powerful way to drive growth, minimise risk, attract capital and focus the purpose of a company. By learning how to harness untapped opportunities through the SDG framework and track impacts against globally-recognised targets, corporates can prove themselves as innovative and conscious leaders.

What About Social Enterprises?

The SDGs makes it easier for social enterprises to prove their impact to solving global challenges. Aligning social targets to the SDG targets can help social enterprises tap into new markets of consumers and investors who share the same goals as them.

The Sustainable Development Goals have become mainstreamed into government, business and investment agendas, and becoming familiar with their language and features enables you to confidently leverage them for your and the world’s benefit. However, it can be daunting to know where to start, what to do, and how you can prove your contribution.

To make a complex landscape easier to understand, Benojo has developed a set of SDG workshops for corporates and their charity partners. Participants in the workshops will learn the SDG lingo, and map out a measurable action-plan which can be aligned to the globally-recognised targets. To become an expert, click here.

Written by Kara Cummins

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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