The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are familiar to many, and adapting them to your business might seem quite easy. However, when looking more in-depth at the level of targets and indicators, it might appear unclear how to use them. Due to that unclarity and the broad nature of the goals, the SDGs are used quite flexibly. So, let’s ask a few questions: What do you use the SDGs for?
Do you communicate your financial contributions? Your actions? Or rather your ambitions and goals?
Let us guide you through three levels, through which you can implement and communicate SDGs – whether you have a smaller or bigger company. But first, if you are unfamiliar with the goals, let’s start with a quick overview 👀.
What are the SDGs?
In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals were submitted and adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations Member States. The Agenda focuses on five key aspects: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership; involving all three sustainability dimensions: social, environmental, and economic. Through collaborative partnerships, the action plan aims to fortify peace and freedom. Therefore, the SDG is a tool that sets goals and targets to be reached by 2030.
There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including 169 targets, and 248 indicators. The goals are holistic definitions for a more sustainable future, aiming toward a better quality of life. Targets refer to what needs to be done to achieve a goal, while indicators measure the progress towards targets 🎯.
By following the Sustainable Development Goals, businesses can work towards a common goal across countries. Implementing and communicating SDGs can help your business, stakeholders, and customers.
For the company, they can help define and set a direction in relation to:
How to operate business activities,
How to treat the environment and employees,
Impact of the company’s products and services.
For stakeholders and customers,
Communicating these efforts, the company’s goals and values can increase transparency and reliability.
3 levels of implementation/communication
After you have defined the goals that your business is in alignment with, you need to communicate how you implement them in the company’s activities, and what is being done in order to achieve the goals. Here are a few tips about how to implement the SDGs.
Level 1 - Financial donations
One of the simple things you can do is to support charities and causes in alignment with the SDGs. For instance, donations can be made to a charity that distributes food for children. In that case, the donation is supporting SDG 2 – Zero Hunger. Financial donations are indirect contributions to the goals since the company’s activities might still not support them.
Level 2 - Ambitions
Every company has ambitions and goals for the future, that are envisioned in its strategy. The question is: how to achieve those goals? With the ever-growing need for transparency, define the steps that need to be taken to achieve future goals. The more detailed, the better. Not only your stakeholders will be more informed, but you will have a clearer strategy as well.
Level 3 - Initiatives & Actions
The most direct contribution to the SDGs is initiatives, which means already taken actions.
Example: A cosmetics company, that reuses or recycles its products’ packaging, directly contributes to SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production. More specifically, it contributes to SDG 12.5 - “By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse”.
This means, that SDG 12 in this example, is embedded in the company’s core operations. As another example, it would also be embedded into the organization itself, if the company chooses reusable tableware in its canteen.
However, when you implement the SDGs, clear and transparent communication is vital to set clear goals, which is more and more requested in several industries. The higher level of implementation you choose, the more the SDGs are implemented in the company. It is also important to consider, that by supporting a Sustainable Development Goal, you do not harm another. The best is if the company’s achievements get better and better year by year.
How BeCause can help 💜
If you would like to know more about how Because can help your company define and communicate relevant SDGs and other sustainability frameworks in a simple way, contact us here.