The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) is a framework that can be used by businesses to work towards improving equality, health, wellbeing and sustainability for people, the planet and the economy. Although there are criticisms of the SDG’s there are also advantages. The goals are not legally binding therefore, businesses can choose 4 or 5 goals relevant to their business and build a long term strategy towards those targets and not be penalised if they are not fully achieved.
There is room for everyone to play their part, businesses included, and although they may need to make some necessary changes which, at first may appear to be counter productive financially, the long term gain both financially and ethically could help maintain longer customer relationships; whilst drawing in new customers who have their own ethical targets e.g, reducing carbon emissions.
So is incorporating SDG’s a Business Risk or an Opportunity? An example of. Company doing just this is BCD Travel in the Netherlands (source C J Clouse, Feb 21st 2019:Greenbiz.com) see https://www.greenbiz.com/
So what are the business benefits? SDG’s will attract public & private investment and businesses can deliver more innovative solutions and transformational change. SDG’s may direct businesses to be more resource efficient, encourage partnerships with stakeholders, engagement with employees and customers. SDG’s will also provide a common framework and language that will help businesses communicate consistently, effectively and more transparently about their impact and performance.(Source SDGcompass.org) see https://sdgcompass.org/wp-
content/uploads/2015/12/ 019104_SDG_Compass_Guide_2015. pdf
What should businesses do? Firstly they should understand the SDG’s, choosing those that fit their business model and build a strategic business case that helps them maintain the focus on their goals. They will need to be innovative in their thinking and approach, identify their current potential, and the positive and negative impact their business activities have on SDG’s, then redefine their priorities developing new goals and remain committed. (Source SDGcompass.org)
The businesses that succeed will be those that embrace the risks and turn them into business opportunities.
(Photograph by Tyler Casey)