In this two-part piece, we introduce the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and explore how your organisation, event or venue can pursue them in your sustainability strategy.
If you're setting out a sustainability strategy for your event or organisation, you will probably spend some time considering the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs, adopted in 2015 and to be achieved by 2030, are "the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The 17 goals are defined in a list of 169 targets, with progress towards those targets tracked by 232 indicators.
Here are the Sustainable Development Goals in full.
1. No Poverty: more than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty.
2. Zero Hunger: one-third of the world's food is wasted, yet 821 million people are undernourished.
3. Good Health and Well-Being: vaccinations resulted in an 80% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2017.
4. Quality Education: 617 million children and adolescents lack minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics.
5. Gender Equality: 1 in 3 women have experienced physical and / or sexual violence.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation: water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world's population.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy: three billion people still lack clean cooking fuels and technologies.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: one-fifth of young people are not in education, employment or training.
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: roads, water, sanitation and electricity remain scarce in many developing countries.
10. Reduced Inequalities: the poorest 40% of the population earn less than 25% of global income.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: 9 out of 10 urban residents breathe polluted air.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production: by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to sustain current lifestyles.
13. Climate Action: global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50% since 1990.
14. Life Below Water: over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
15. Life on Land: forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: in 2018, the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million.
17. Partnerships: achieving the SDGs could open up $12 trillion of market opportunities and create 380 million new jobs by 2030.
So where does your organisation or event start in pursuing these goals?
These are huge areas to get stuck into, and some might not immediately feel relevant at the scale you are operating. We would recommend using the international standards as a starting point; many ISO standards contribute towards sustainable development.
If you're an event, check out ISO 20121. ISO 20121 contributes to the following UN SDGs: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 16. ISO 20121's purpose is to structure your sustainability efforts across the three pillars of economic, social and environmental performance. Events have a huge public impact, and so have added responsibility to take sustainability seriously.
For any event, venue or organisation, read more about ISO 26000 - this standard offers practical guidance and recommendations for your social responsibility. It can instruct you in understanding your organisation's impact on society and the environment, as well as providing benefits in reputation, stakeholder relationships, and competitive advantage.
Finally - remain aware of the new international standard in development, ISO 22379, aimed at helping cities to manage major events in a safe and secure way.
WeTrack's Sustainability Module
Learn more about WeTrack's new sustainability tracking software, which is in development. This module will allow organisations to set targets, track indicators and hit achievements in sustainability, social responsibility, diversity, legacy and more. In the module you will be able to track your sustainability targets against the UN SDGs (as well as any other external or internal framework).