Late last month the United Nations approved the Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), the most comprehensive and ambitious set of 17 goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. But to achieve these goals it's going to take a village, or rather an entire planet, to succeed. Through a massive effort that can only be achieved with action from governments, businesses, NGOs and individuals, everyone has a role to play to push these goals forward. Many companies are already heeding the call – a recent survey found one-in-five companies are currently involved in collaboration around the goals and another four-in-10 are exploring the implications of these goals. Here's a snapshot of companies that are creating commitments and building a rallying cry around these monumental goals:
- The B Team, a group of global business leaders coming together to advance the wellbeing of people and the planet including Unilever's Paul Polman, Arianna Huffington and Virgin's Richard Branson, has thrown their weight behind the SDGs. The group is calling on private-sector leaders to "develop a ‘business plan' for embedding the global goals into their corporate strategies."
- In advance of the adoption of the SDGs, SABMiller adopted its own sustainability development strategy, Prosper. Prosper has five shared imperatives which focus on the issues that are most significant for the company's business and were carefully designed to align with the goals. The company has an infographic showing how its individual commitments ladder up to the broader SDGs.
- Dow Chemical Company has launched its own 2025 Sustainability Goals that seek to not only address each and every one of the 17 SDGs, but also to incorporate the value of nature and society into all business decisions.
- In response to Climate Week 2015, Microsoft helped to launch a new program in partnership with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called the Climate Neutral Now initiative. The initiative is working to make it easier for all types of organizations, governments and even individuals to "to measure, reduce and offset their greenhouse gas emissions through an online platform." Through the use of technology, the partnership is hoping to help everyone make smarter decisions about their own emissions and make it easier to take climate action, goal number 13 of the SDGs.
- Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of the Virgin Group, has partnered to create the Global Goals Alliance to raise awareness for the SDGs. The Global Goals Alliance website and app invites participants to create their own SDG superhero focused around one of the 17 goals, then share their newly created superhero with their social networks showing how "we can all be every day superheroes if we work towards making a better world and support the goals."
As we dig in on achieving these goals over the next 15 years, companies are in a unique position to be solution-providers, conveners and leaders to create a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world. We look forward to more companies stepping forward with new and innovative ways to do their part to address the SDGs.