Global Goals

Global goals for your business


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.

5 musts for a serious sustainability work

Photo: Private

Photo: Private

For any organisation, business or local, regional or central authority (actors), there are a few things that should be in place if they want to claim they’re working with sustainability. Way to often I meet businesses or other actors that tell me they do work with sustainability, but they mostly refer to their CRS work (Corporate social responsibility) where they donate money to civil society or they do operational work, such as certain activities for trash-picking and so on, but that’s not a business striving to become sustainable.

Serious sustainable development can only happen in a society where actors first look at themselves and how they create harm but also how they can contribute to good. Sustainability is not only a WHAT it’s mostly a HOW. How do we operate? How to we provide our costumers with goods and services? In what way’s do our service contribute to the global goals? The last one is a WHAT, different from the other two that is a HOW.

How to become a successful sustainable business? These are the 5 musts:

  • Policy for Sustainable Development

  • Sustainability aspects in the Code of Conduct/Organisational Chart

  • Action plan for Sustainable Development

  • Sustainability report

  • Climate action plan according to the Paris Agreement

Policy is essential to define what sustainability means in your context. This is the umbrella to relay on so we all can agree upon what sustainability means for our business.

Principles such as anticorruption, inclusion, climate awareness and so on should be a part of the code of conduct and organisational chart. This is the backbone of the business/organisation and tells us our values. To strive for sustainability can not only be a question of profit or market opportunities, it must be a part of the business values.

Action plan, what are the goals? What needs to change? Just to define and set the framework is not enough, you need a plan with proper goals, indicators, a strategy and a budget (especially the budget part, though to change your business into a sustainable one is an investment because your investing in your brand, probably reducing cost in different areas and so on. I’ll explain more in a future post).

Sustainability reporting is important for transparency and to be trustworthy. This is where you show your results. The indicators will tell the reader about your performance and the storytelling how.

Climate action according to the Paris Agreement is something I believe most businesses lack. Most actors want to set it according to their size and capacity to reduce their carbon emissions. With this state of mind, a light version of “business as usual”, the target set at the Paris Agreement won’t be met. Everyone needs to half their carbon footprint within a decade. This is commonly called the Carbon Law.

Do you know any business that lives up to all these 5 criteria’s? Has your business implemented a proper sustainability work? If not, you should hurry because otherwise you’ll be out of business pretty soon..