A 3-Minute “Power” Guide to the 17 Social Development Goals Working Towards Sustainable Business Operations

Is addressing social and environmental issues a top business priority for you?

Many consumers now demand that companies actively engage in social and environmental causes. This shift in behaviour has led to the rise of sustainable and socially responsible businesses. However, identifying the most impactful areas for social development can be challenging.

The United Nations’ (UN) social development framework offers guidance in this regard. It provides a structured approach to channelling our efforts towards a more equitable and sustainable world. Whitestone is an expert in offering advice on the adoption and implementation of these guidelines.

What Are The Social Development Goals (SDGs)?

The UN Social Development Goals consist of 17 objectives that aim to create a better world by 2030, irrespective of one’s background, circumstance, or location. Endorsed by all 191 member states, these goals are an essential tool for improving the lives of people across the globe – representing a globally agreed-upon framework for driving positive change in areas that impact everyone.

In short, we have a set of targets to bring the world’s attention to the most pressing global issues: poverty, inequality, and climate change.

These goals evolved from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of goals established in 2000 to address similar issues.

While the MDGs primarily targeted developing countries, the SDGs are universal and reflect a bigger, more integrated vision for our planet’s future. Since 2015, the SDGs have evolved to become more encompassing, increasingly focusing on peace, justice, and human rights.

Each SDG has specific targets and key performance indicators to measure progress, making it easier for governments, organisations, and individuals to monitor their contributions towards a more sustainable and equitable world. At their heart, these goals underscore the belief that through collaboration, commitment, and willingness to adapt, we can construct a better, more sustainable future.

Read more about The 17 Goals.

The Social & Environment Impact So Far…

While some countries have made remarkable strides, others struggle to make progress. One of the reasons for the uneven progress is that the SDGs are complex, and success requires cooperation across sectors and borders. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified these challenges, necessitating a reassessment of priorities and the development of new strategies to address global issues.

Countries like Denmark and Costa Rica are playing pivotal roles in the success of the SDGs. Denmark has become a leader in clean energy promotion, steadily reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, which sets an excellent example for other developed countries. Moreover, Costa Rica has advanced in environmental conversation and sustainability, achieving 100% renewable energy sources in just a few years! These nations serve as inspirations, proving impactful change is possible with political determination, strategic policymaking, and effective execution.

For example, Goal 3, which focuses on health and well-being, has enabled better maternal health services for women in Ghana. Another example is that a community in India can now irrigate their crops more effectively due to innovations in water management systems, in line with Goal 6, which focuses on clean water and sanitation.

What About Your Employer?

It is simple: companies must act now. Integrating the UN SDGs into business strategies is essential for addressing sustainability and climate change. This is where Whitestone’s expertise can be invaluable.

The UN goals call on businesses and organisations to contribute to a better world. Collaboration transcends political boundaries, as the shared goal of sustainable development benefits all. From the vast halls of the United Nations to remote villages, the power of collaborative efforts is evident in forming the SDGs and the actions taken by countries to achieve these goals.

Sustainable development is a continuous journey that must start now, requiring persistent effort to preserve our planet for present and future generations. We must reverse the history of exploitation, and this transformation begins with our collective actions, starting in our workplaces.

© Lawrence Power 2024

Denmark to Pioneer Offshore Energy Island

The Danish wind turbine industry is one of the world’s largest – accounting for up to 38% of the world’s market share. In June 2020, following more and more countries looking to build a greener future, Denmark revealed plans to build one of the world’s first offshore energy islands. Curious? We have researched what the island could look like, it’s global strategy, and potential location.

Backed by Denmark’s politicians, the energy island is expected to be 120,000sq m with room for 200 offshore wind turbines. As part of the country’s Climate Act, the island will serve around 3 million households with sustainable, renewable sources of energy. The move is radical but looks set to help Denmark on its mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% in 2033 and its goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2050. Partly owned by the state and partly held by private investors, the island amounts to a whopping £24bn with added maintenance costs on a regular basis. It is for this reason, as well as the amount of infrastructure needed, that the island is only expected to be completed by 2033. The announcement has been heralded as positive news across the country with Denmark’s Energy Minister, Dan Jorgensen, hinting at the far-reaching effects the island will have on the wind turbine industry. “It’s the next big step for the Danish wind turbine industry. We were leading on land, then we took the step offshore and now we are taking the step with energy islands, so it’ll keep the Danish industry in a pioneering position.”[1] The island is to be built in the North Sea, approximately 80km from the town of Thorsminde. In close proximity to countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and England the energy island could not only provide renewable energy sources to Denmark but also to its neighbouring countries, thus providing good reason for its selected location. It is part of a much larger global strategy to help implement greener energy practices and Denmark seems to be one of the world’s leading pioneers.

However, though many are positive about the announcement, there is scepticism about the expected completion date. Dansk Energy, a famous green group in Denmark, heralded the move as a significant step towards a greener future but warned that 2033 was unlikely to be the completion date. Despite this, Danish politicians have given the project the go-ahead and the project is starting to become a reality.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-55931873