• Chris Brandt

How the UN Sustainable Development Goals affect your business

Are you familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

What does this mean for your business?

We are masters at deferring expertise. Which friend do you call when your computer isn't working optimally? Are they a high-paid computer expert? No, they are simply someone who knows a little bit more than you. Planning a trip to Europe? Your mom suggests that you call your cousin who went to Paris once back in college, because they are an expert on travelling to Europe. That person in your life who knows even 5% more than you about plumbing, electricity, law, or how to get a wine stain out of a shirt - they are all experts to us. There's nothing wrong with this. Let's just acknowledge it with a smile.

Knowing this puts us in a powerful position in the creation of a company's corporate social responsibility program. In times of global crisis, we look to the Red Cross to suggest where we can direct our donations with the confidence that they will have the greatest impact. Search online for an environmental program to donate to, and it's likely that one featuring an endorsement by Greenpeace or The David Suzuki Foundation is going to win out.

The first step in creating a corporate social responsibility program is to select what social good the company is going to direct its efforts towards. My advice is always to start with causes that the staff are emotionally attached to. This brings authenticity, and hopefully a personal story, to the efforts behind supporting that cause. The next consideration is to review what cause(s) resonate with their customers. Anti-pipeline orgs aren't going to generate much enthusiasm in oil country.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide 17 options for a focused vision of social responsibility that come with the giant stamp of approval of the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Your staff and customers will feel inspired to engage in a shared global vision.


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