In the midst of a global pandemic, the United Nations (UN) celebrated the 5th anniversary of adopting a new sustainable development agenda. The agenda set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) back on the 25th September 2015. As a collective, these are described by the UN as ‘the blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all’.
Each of the goals come with specific targets to be achieved by 2030 to tackle a huge range of global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
You can find more detail on each of the goals and the specific targets here.
It is vital, that as small business owners, we do not underestimate the power we have to make big changes. Every step each business makes to understand the impact of what they do on a whole range of ethical issues, and every opportunity taken to make a positive change, is a step closer to achieving the targets set by the SDG.
Working towards these common, global goals, is not only morally right, (so you’re bound to feel good for it!), but also makes your business much more likely to thrive with an ever-growing body of eco-conscious consumers – a win-win situation. Knowing where to start, or how to improve the sustainability of your small business can often seem a little overwhelming to say the least. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on some actionable tips and solutions, including clear examples on how to incorporate the UN’s SDG in your journey to a more ethical business.
Sustainable Development Goals: Tips and Solutions
Training your Team
It’s one thing for a business owner to understand their sustainability goals, and another to get their team on board to help achieve those goals. Educating staff on not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ regarding your sustainability goals will undoubtedly make a huge difference in motivating them to drive forward positive change.
Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production – you may have made the effort to ensure you have the appropriate recycling facilities at your small business premise, but training staff in the importance of recycling can make a huge difference in how much actually gets recycled. You could consider designating a ‘recycling champion’, who may receive specific training which inspires them to come up with new initiatives and motivate staff to join in.
When it comes to sustainability, data has the power to bring huge value to almost every industry. Having the right data to hand, in a way that is easy to understand, is not only vital in understanding what you can do to improve the sustainability of your business, but also in educating staff on the impact of what you do. Below are just a few of the ways data can be used to help achieve sustainability targets.
Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation – achieving the goal of clean, accessible water for all requires us to play our part in keeping water wastage at an absolute minimum. Data can be used to track the water usage of your business and to help you look for ways to reduce or reuse. Once you have the data, you may decide on some relatively simple solutions such as water-maintenance checks and educating staff not to run appliances on half-loads, which can make a big difference. Of course, there are bigger investments that can have greater long-term impact too, such as installing water-saving measures. Whatever measures you decide, having your water usage data available is the right place to start.
Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy – EHS and ESG data can include every element of energy consumption within your business. Having the facts and figures needed can help you set clear targets and also understand the success of any action taken. A simple example would be to use data to track the savings made by switching to only energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
Goal 13 – Climate Action – perhaps the most talked about SDG is what can be done to reduce emissions of harmful gases to protect the planet from global warming. Here at SustainIt, our data services can help you manage any hazardous gas and is real-time, ensuring you can act with speed should you pick-up on anything untoward, such as a gas leak for example.
Ultimately, every business is different and faces its own unique challenges. You may find opportunities to target SDG exist within your supply chain and these are likely to be individual to your business. As examples, consider Goal 2 – Zero Hunger;- does your supply chain support local farmers?, or Goal 8 – Work and Economic Growth;- does your business create job opportunities for youth including within the supply chain?. Understanding every element of your business is vital in your journey to becoming more ethical and is why one-to-one support can make all the difference.
Here at SustainIt, our approach to helping you achieve sustainability goals starts from the individual goals and aspirations of each of our clients. Rather than generating random data, we work closely with you to create the precise data needed for the visualisation and storytelling of your specific goals and objectives. This provides you with a wealth of easy-to-understand data that can be used to set targets, train staff and celebrate successes too! Whether it’s energy, water, hazardous gas, health and safety, legislation around COVID-19, or something else, our one-to-one support offers a bespoke approach like no other.
SustainIt is a family-run, independent, global sustainability data consultancy with over 40 years combined industry knowledge in helping organisations reach their sustainability goals. We are passionate about using sustainability data to drive forward positive change and are ready to support you in achieving your goals. To talk through your next project, or seek advice on your sustainability needs, our expert team is here to help.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.