What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

On January 1st, 2016 in a historic UN Summit, world leaders decided to universally mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, inequalities and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. Their main objective? Ensuring no one is left behind.

Although the Sustainable Goals (SDG’s), also known as Global Goals, are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and achieve the 17 Goals that promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Sustainability reduces risks and balances economic values with environmental and social ones.

So, why- if governments are not making this legally binding- should companies care? First of all, there is no chance of solving this array of challenges without the combined efforts of government, civil society and businesses, especially when it comes to a $3-trillion-per year-price tag. Plus, the SDGs provide an international framework that can help us to define and measure impacts.Secondly, sustainable practices have been changing the corporate landscape. If you don’t believe it, take a look at the B Corp movement. By using business as a force for good, B Corporations have been infiltrating the mainstream and pushing the corporate world beyond the 21st century. However, if your C-suite executives and investors believe that the UN is interfering with the ability to create value to their shareholders, the fact is that the SDGs provide a platform to obtain a competitive advantage by showing responsibility and pursuing opportunity and innovation in their products and services. The report Better Business, Better World, from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission shows that achieving the SDGs or Global Goals offers a compelling growth strategy for businesses, creating at least $12 trillion U.S. in opportunities in four economic systems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being, and generating up to 380 million jobs mostly in developing countries.

Of course, companies are not expected to contribute to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As a business, first, you will assess the SDGs that are specific to your industry and select a maximum of 3. For example, Falcon’s Global Goal is “Clean Water and Sanitation”, because we are already a technological solution that addresses this need. Next, select the strategy development of the SDGs, and apply an SDG index to monitor and measurement your impact.

The SDGs is not about altruism it is about promoting corporate social responsibility since ultimately, good business relies on and can help perpetuate sustainable societies.