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Applying the SDGs to your company

Updated: Jan 26

Author: Shaïna Peek

Publication date: 09.01.2024


The SDGs are the Sustainable Development Goals that are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In fact, all United Nations Member states are complying with this agenda. However, as global warming becomes a bigger issue, businesses also want to be more sustainable. Therefore, looking at the SDGs can help find improvement points within the company process.  


The Sustainable Development Goals

Firstly, there are 17 goals related to human rights and the environment. Having no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, and reduced inequality are human rights. Additionally, clean water, clean energy, decent work, and infrastructure are more goals.  Furthermore, the wish is to have sustainable cities, responsible consumption, and peace and justice. As for the climate, life on land and below water should be preserved along with climate action being taken. Finally, partnerships will help make more goals. 


The Sustainable Development Goals

Relevant SDGs for the company

Of course, not all of the above-listed goals can or must be applied to the company. Luckily, there are several tools to identify the relevant SDGs for your company. For example, the SDG compass or the SDG Industry Matrix. Then, the current process is looked at. Possible issues or opportunities are considered. Consequently, a strategy can be formed. Goals can be created specifically for your company. 


Deciding the impacts of the SDGs

So, after having found the relevant goals, you can decide on the importance and urgency. First, you can make a value chain for sustainability. This includes the input and output and the impact. Then, a risk assessment matrix can be made. This is a rating of the severity and likelihood of an issue. The higher on both aspects, the higher the risk is. So, then you know the biggest impacts and what to work on first. 


Creating a strategy 

In order to create the strategy, you need to establish goals. These goals include a timeframe and measurable achievements. For instance, reducing waste by 30% by 2030. Furthermore, the process might need to be adapted. So, look at the supplier, the materials used, the neighbourhood, and so on. Consider if changes can be made here to make the goals more achievable. 


Collaborations 

collaborating enforces your own strategies

Additionally, collaborating with companies with similar goals helps. By partnering with sustainable-focused companies, you fund each other’s operations. Also, when they become more sustainable, using their products can help you achieve your previously established goals. To illustrate, if they make their product from recycled materials, more progress is made on a goal related to recycling. So, collaborating enforces your own strategies and proves to customers that you are dedicated and trustworthy


How SDGs can positively affect a company

In conclusion, there are different steps to becoming more sustainable. First, it’s important to get familiarised with the SDGs. Then, differentiation and orientation of the goals provide more clarity for yourself. Thirdly, a risk assessment matrix shows the impact of the issues within the company process. 


Consequently, this order allows for the strategy to be set up along with measurable goals in a timeframe. After having implemented the strategy properly in your company, you can look to expand further with sustainability. So, you can try to make more sustainable partnerships. 


 

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