The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world’s best plan to build a better world, and more sustainable future, for people and our planet by 2030. Adopted by all United Nations Member States back in 2015, the SDGs are a call for action by all countries, rich, poor and those in-between, to promote prosperity whilst protecting the environment. Goals 14 and 15 directly aim to conserve nature, goal one poverty, while goal five addresses gender equality. A comprehensive list of 16 needs and wants were designed to cover all facets of ‘better living – better planet’, with the 17th goal as the vehicle to enable fulfilment – partnerships.
My role as the Corporate Partnerships Manager at Born Free is a fascinating mixture of conversations and interactions with organisations that all want to do their bit for people and the environment, whilst maintaining a profitable business. This noticeable paradigm shift led John Elkington in 1994 to coin the phrase ’the triple bottom line’ and most companies now understand that without a responsibility to people and the planet, chasing higher profits is not the only measure of success.
Amongst the benefits, engaging with the SDGs will enhance your company’s social and moral contract within the communities you operate, and create opportunities around new markets for sustainable products.
Why work 12 hour days, barely seeing your family and friends, not enjoying the splendours our planet offers, only to amass a fortune and then realise the landscape has changed irrevocably? Conversely, why not use this time as an opportunity to drive innovative business solutions that will contribute to protecting the wildlife you cherish?
My position affords me opportunity to explore the role corporate entities will play in answering these questions and scaling their efforts towards sustainability.
One of the obvious choices for a company when choosing how to affect change is to align itself with a charity that fits its own target audience. As an animal welfare and conservation organisation, if you had an animal logo or name as part of your brand – I would love to hear from you!
Charities have the power to inspire, inform and empower. Aside from looking great for your customers, staff, shareholders and corporate image, developing relationships with charities will increase your capacity to effect meaningful and lasting change, by better aligning your business activities with the transformative agenda of the SDGs. You may also find that while your efforts initially focused on a specific goal, you are actually contributing to the delivery of many across the framework.
If you work for a corporate entity, I challenge you to rethink your values, see how you can stretch the reach and concentration of the SDGs, and integrate them into the core of your business by working with charitable organisations towards the common goal of shaping a better world.