Five Ways Corporations Can Impact the Global Goals through Corporate Citizenship

There has been a lot of chatter since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for good reason! We’ve got a LOT of work to do to achieve the 17 goals and corresponding 169 targets before 2030.

If you haven’t stayed tuned into recent international development news, here is what you need to know:

The Sustainable Development Goals replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on September 25, 2015. The MDGs which were in place from 2000 to 2015 covered poverty alleviation, hunger, gender equality, health, and environmental and sustainable development.

A group of representatives from 70 countries led working discussions to determine these goals while the UN conducted a series of “global conversations” including consultations and surveys. The SDGs expand upon the eight MDGs and deepen their focus on energy, sustainability, and climate change. Every country is expected to work toward achieving them.

So, without further ado, here are the SDGs which aim to end poverty, protect our planet, and ensure the wellbeing of all.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Spotlight

The SDGS offer an opportunity for corporations to expand their corporate citizenship programs and work toward the completion of the goals alongside government, nonprofits, and other organizations.

Let’s highlight a few of the #globalgoals and discuss how you can help accomplish them.

Goal #2: End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture

Start a food drive at your regional offices and donate the collected items to your local food bank or Feeding America affiliate. In addition to granting to hunger relief organizations, employees can volunteer at food banks by packing, sorting, and distributing food.

Goal #3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-being for all at all Ages

Conduct peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns sponsoring employee participation in races and walks. Encourage your employees to ride bikes or walk to work (boosts health and protects the environment!). Award employees for taking action to improve their health- provide gift cards or employee recognition.  

Goal #4: Ensure Exclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All

Develop a tutoring and mentoring volunteer program.  Partner with City Year or Big Brothers Big Sisters to support at-risk youth. Donate to a classroom in need via DonorsChoose.org.

In addition to incorporating these cause areas into your giving and volunteering programs, here are four other ways to work toward achieving the SDGs:

1) Develop Shared Value Initiatives

The SDGs provide a pathway to new markets and revenue models. Explore ways to develop Shared Value initiatives which provide value for business and society.

Examples include training your entire value chain on sustainable farming practices, providing shop owners with business training, developing new product lines which provide necessities to those at the bottom of the pyramid at affordable prices. (Read more here).

2) Utilize the GRI or other Reporting Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative and several other reporting guidelines provide the framework to accomplish the global goals. Through utilizing GRI Guidelines, your corporation will provide a holistic report upon your economic, environmental, and social impact- all corresponding to the promise of the SDGs.

3) Integrate with your Supply Chain

When evaluating your potential to impact the SDGs, consider your global supply chain and labor practices. Examine the strengths and weaknesses and provide support to the areas which need improvements. Overall, be authentic and honest with your findings- that’s the only way we will track measurable impact toward achieving the global goals.

4) Join Impact 2030

Impact 2030 is a business led effort to strengthen and showcase employee volunteer programs as contributors to the global goals. You can join Google, IBM, UPS and other corporations as a founding or collaborating partner to state your commitment to the mission of Impact 2030.

Who is taking a stance?

Corporations including GSK, Coca-Cola, Mars, and Toms Shoes are taking action in response to the Global Goals and mapping out how their work can achieve the goals. Join them!

Mars Sustainable Development Goals

Business has the unique opportunity to deliver upon the global goals through our impact upon consumers, suppliers, and the communities in which we live, work, and play. The SDGs are an opportunity to refocus our missions as socially responsible businesses and work for a world in which we are proud to call home.