The UN Sustainable Development Goals

17 Sustainable Development Goals Building a Fairer Society and a Sustainable Future

Building on the success of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 world leaders in September 2015, represent the new sustainable development agenda.

About the Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, set 17 ambitious goals, and 169 specific targets relating to these, to be achieved by 2030.  They centre on sustainable development which embraces economic and social development and environtmental protection.  A basic principle of the Goals is that no one should be left behind.

Recognising that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs, the Goals cover social protection:  education, health, decent work, affordable clean energy, job opportunities and economic infrastructure and environmental protection: climate action, life underwater and life on land.  The importance of partnership is also recognised in the Goals.

This is the most comprehensive set of Goals and the largest ever call for collective action by governments, institutions, businesses and citizens. If the Goals are achieved, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

See more information on the SDGs.

Accelerating the pace of change

Collectively business, government and society need to come together to address the Goals, and accelerate the pace of change together.

Earth Overshoot Day in August 2016, demonstrated the need to speed up and embrace the sustainability agenda. Everyone, be they individual, business or government has a vital role to play.

BITC will continue to provide and develop a range of resources, guidance, insights and events to support and raise awareness, understanding and action on developing sustainable business models, the addressing the SDGs and to support the drive towards a fairer society and a more sustainable future, for everyone everywhere.

View our series of films outlining how leading firms are developing Sustainable Business Models.

Why is this important for business?

Ever more businesses recognise that it is in their long-term interest to invest in building fairer societies and a more sustainable future for all. Addressing sustainable development issues can contribute positively to your business in many ways.  These include improving, stabilising and helping to secure your supply chain; driving innovation; highlighting new market opportunities; enhancing your corporate reputation; protecting your license to operate. and helping improve staff recruitment, retention and loyalty.

The role business can play

Businesses are a key enabler of the SDGs.  Addressing the goals, businesses create collaborations, jobs, and innovations, and open up markets. Their contribution is significant, with foreign direct investment now out-stripping official aid in many developing countries.

And business can have a positive economic, social and environmental impact. Working with and through their supply chains, and investing in the communities in which they operate and on which they impact, whilst improving their sustainability, businesses deliver significant contributions against the Goals.

The efforts of business are clear.  The Unilever Global Development Award 2016, sponsored by Unilever and supported by Business Fights Poverty, received an impressive and inspiring breadth of submissions presenting the many ways companies, with their partners, are addressing the SDGs.  Read the case studies now.

Case studies

Read our case study bank which shows how companies are making a difference.

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