In 2015, more than 190 world leaders agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a better world by 2030. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. Not surprisingly, the SDGs are becoming more and more a topic of conversation.
Below we explain what the goals are and why they are important.
The 17 goals
The SDGs were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015 and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. They cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice. The 17 goals are depicted in the diagram below:
The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. Each goal also has a separate list of targets to achieve, so in total there are 169 targets for the 17 goals.
The success of the SDGs requires a partnership of governments, private sector, society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations. It lets any organisation, regardless of their activity, relate their strategy or objectives to the SDGs, which in turn allows everyone to talk the same language, locally, nationally and internationally.
Why the goals matter
The SDGs will continue the fight against extreme poverty, and adds the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environmental sustainability, especially in the key goal of curbing the dangers of human-induced climate change. If the global community collectively is prepared to step up to the challenge, then there’s a chance of achieving sustainable development — and with it better prospects for people and the planet.
In my work with people from many different parts of the economy; from community organisations to councils, energy companies to traditional investors, I get to see how some of these organisations are taking a leadership role in this space and how they are applying it to their business/organisation activity.
Sustainable development isn’t just something which happens to somebody else, somewhere else. We all have a role to play if we are going to achieve these goals of a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world. The SDGs are everybody’s responsibility.
Through our Responsible Investment Charter we are essentially investing to do good. However, as an organisation we’ve also begun thinking about the SDGs and how the investing that we are doing is impacting on SDG outcomes. Increasingly, impact is being assessed through alignment with the SDGs – so outcomes need to be tangible, able to be measured, and then be reported on.
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