How standards can help businesses unlock the potential of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations’ (UN) ambitious strategy to end poverty by 2030 and make significant global social and environmental progress could create almost 380m jobs and opportunities worth $12trn (£9trn) in sectors ranging from affordable housing and energy efficiency to circular economy models and advances in healthcare, according to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.
However, when the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are underpinned by 169 targets, were formally launched in 2016, the Commission stated that 'most businesses have barely registered the importance of working sustainably'.
The challenge remains getting organizations at scale to recognize the benefits of working with sustainability in mind and to begin implementing measures that will lead to significant, transformational change.
The key, therefore, is to help businesses better understand the SDGs, ‘translate’ these into a business context and introduce impactful measures to align with the SDGs. In other words, to encourage them to take action in a meaningful, consistent manner that supports their individual purpose, strategy and sustainability experience/progress to date. Standards have a clear role to play in this process.