Let’s innovate a sustainable future

Sustainable action affects everyone and means much more than “just” nature conservation. Societal challenges have long been playing out on a global scale and are closely connected. We can only have a positive influence on the development of our world if we tackle all these tasks together.

We as ekipa accept this mission, because we see ourselves as an elementary part of an innovative and sustainable future. Our vision is to connect and empower courageous people and organizations worldwide. We believe that by doing so, we can positively change people, markets and our world. To achieve these goals, we are launching a new project series in spring – So stay tuned!

The Agenda 2030 

What do we want our world to look like in ten years? The UN member states approached the answer to this question when they committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. The 2030 Agenda is a roadmap for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), integrating social, environmental and economic dimensions. All dimensions stand side by side on one level and are treated with equal importance because they are all interrelated. The 169 targets that underlie the SDG’s indicate the scope and ambition of the universal agenda. The sub-goals and targets are aligned with the guiding themes of People, Earth, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships. Building on the Millennium Development Goals, they aim to complete what has not yet been achieved.

The SDG Compass: How we can implement the SDGs.

An important change compared to the Millennium Development Goals is that the goals are no longer directed only at developing and emerging countries, but also at industrialized nations in particular. Agenda2030 also emphasizes the role of non-state actors from business, academia and civil society, in part by addressing numerous goals directly to businesses. This raises the question of why so few companies have so far been actively involved in implementing the Agenda2030.

Companies are exposed to different risks depending on their business model, industry and region, and have different resources to contribute to this mission. It is not easy for all companies to grasp the SDG’s in their complexity and integrate them into their own business strategy. That’s why the UN Global Compact, together with the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, have launched the SDG Compass, which aims to provide guidance for different stakeholders by aligning with the most widely used corporate social responsbility frameworks. The guide presents five steps that companies can take to maximize their contribution to the SDG’s. Companies can apply these five steps to chart or align their course, depending on where they are on the journey, to ensure that sustainability is an outcome of core business strategy.

 

Investing in a sustainable future pays off

Great opportunities arise from achieving the Agenda2030 if all the world’s systems were transformed by new business models and innovations that generate as much added value as possible, says the “Better Business Better World” report of the UN Commission on Business and Sustainable Development. More and more organizations and businesses around the world are choosing to integrate the SDG’s into their work because to achieve real success, businesses today must invest in sustainable development. Similarly, businesses play an essential role in the successful implementation of the Agenda2030. For society as a whole, the success of sustainable businesses reflect the realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), because they provide the evidence that investing in the future pays immediate dividends.

Accordingly, the UN strategy has a major influence on organizations and companies operating in the member states. A PwC study shows that 41 percent of the companies surveyed want to integrate the 2030 Agenda into their strategy. 78 percent of the citizens surveyed would use the products and services of companies that pursue the sustainability goals. This gives them an enormous competitive advantage. The high relevance of the topic is further illustrated by the fact that 90 percent of the citizens surveyed expect companies to address the SDGs.

Business players who want to achieve long-term success must therefore bring their business strategies into line with the global ambitions of their governments. It is crucial to consider the interactions of the individual goals and to take a holistic approach, because achieving an isolated SDG can have negative effects on other sustainability goals. For example, effective solutions for SDG12 “Sustainable consumption and production” could be found in a short time, but people in less privileged regions would not be able to afford them, which would conflict with Goal 10 “Reduce inequality.” Companies therefore need to develop sector-specific and individual solutions based on well thought-out strategies.

This article was written by Sashia Niemeyer, she is a project manager at ekipa.

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