This morning I had the opportunity to participate in a seminar related to the global goals. I wrote my master thesis about how the global goals are related to different ways of measuring welfare. I spent about six months digging into the Agenda 2030 and have from a distance followed it’s process.
My expertise has also been used at my current working place where we did a proper mapping towards our activities. There’s a few things I think it’s very important to remember for any organisation or company using the global goals and these are:
Stay true to your purpose and strategic work. Way to often I see business uses sustainability, claiming it to be a part of their DNA, where I would say that its definitely not the case if its not in the organisational chart of strategic guidelines. The aim of most business is to make profit - not to create a more sustainable world.
Look at the targets. It’s not the 17 themes you would mapp to - the goals are rather 169 and they are way more specific. What’s happening is that people claim to work with goal 13 since they’re reducing their carbon emissions but if you look at goal 13 there is no target saying that emissions should be reduced.
Contribute to them or let them guide your work. There are two different approaches, you can either mapp your current work to the goals and see if there’s a overlap, this means you are contributing to the goals, or you can use the goals to create your own goals within your organisation to contribute. Some businesses are using the goals to create their own action plans in sustainability. If the global goals are helping more companies to be more sustainable, then that’s really good but the indicators you’re using will probably be very different from the one set at UN level. For example goal 6, to provide safe drinking water to everyone globally is not the same thing as reducing water use in your production line.
Communicate fair. If you are contributing, explain it, if you measure say how, if you set target and goals, be transparent. Unfortunately the goals has become the new green washing. If you just see a goal without any explanation of how, then you should be critical. Do the proper work and explain in details how you’ve done your mapping.
The agenda as the new CRS for partnership. This one might not always be a good thing since I believe civil society needs to stay true to it’s purpose and I believe the business sector have to realise that you can’t just pick one goal, they are all intervened and can’t be separated. Sustainable development can only happen when environmental issues and social issues are being adressed as a common issue where the solution need to result in synergies.
I hope my reflections have given you something to think about and ask yourself how your current working place are using Agenda 2030 and the global goals.