In 2015, the United Nations (UN) led a process that adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative aims to tackle climate change, end poverty, and fight inequality before 2030.
Additionally, the SDGs cover broad challenges, including economic inclusion, geopolitical instability, and environmental degradation. The agendas were developed based on inputs from businesses, non-profit organizations, and academic organizations.
With the SDGs, many companies have begun to recognize that the only way to address the complex sustainability challenges is to scale up their efforts. They must collaborate with peers, governments, sector organizations, customers, and non-profit organizations. By including sustainability goals in business plans, companies can play a more pivotal role in achieving sustainable development goals and may also gain much from them.
Sustainability and the Business Case
Companies face challenges that limit their potential to grow and excel. This includes scarcity of natural resources, limited local buying power, weak financial markets, and so on. As a result of these limitations, companies must employ business sustainability strategies that can help them create opportunities. This way, they can address the four vital facets of businesses: growth, purpose, and risk.
Regarding business growth, the 8th, 9th, and 12th Sustainable Development Goals come to play. While these goals are directly concerned with economic growth, sustainable industrialization, employment, innovation, and sustainable production, businesses can also take advantage of them by expanding into new markets and attracting talent. By implementing sustainable business practices in your organization, you can gain more resilient communities and reliable access to natural resources.
Sustainable Development and Addressing Risks
If an organization’s financial, natural, and social resources are eroded elsewhere, it may be unable to continue creating capital. Every goal in the SDGs represents a risk area that is currently posing challenges to businesses. For instance, supply chains are exposed to the effects of climate change and the depletion of natural resources. Organizations can exacerbate these risks by adopting sustainable development goals in a business plan.
Another reason companies should consider including SDGs in their business plan is that they may have a direct influence on their investors. Investors now pay close attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks before making an investment decision. Thus, if you own a company, it is vital that you and your employees adopt sustainable living practices to create competitive advantages related to ESG performance.
Attracting Capital and Focusing on Purpose
In a bid to tackle the developmental challenges in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, we expect a redirection of public and private investment flows. This expectation is based on experiences with climate finance and private-sector financial products like green bonds. Organizations that adopt innovative finance models geared towards realizing the SDGs will be better positioned to benefit directly from new sources of capital.
Including SDGs in a business plan can help companies focus on a purpose and create shared value for all stakeholders. This way, they can become a strong driving force for galvanizing stakeholders toward expected outcomes. By focusing on a purpose that revolves around improving the world, organizations can inspire others, create a compelling brand image, and even increase their opportunity to make profits and create sustainable value.
Actions to Take Towards Sustainable Development Goals
So far, we have noted some benefits you can enjoy by including SDGs in your business plan. But what are the actions that you need to take? First, companies must identify how the goals, directly and indirectly, affect their businesses. This way, they can employ a strategic approach to committing to these goals and align them with their corporate priorities to impact them positively.
Develop Targets and KPIs
Besides identifying and committing to SDGs that align with your business priorities is also essential to develop targets and KPIs. Th169 specific and global targets accompany these 17 sustainable development goals. By developing a clear target, organizations will find it easy to monitor their progress and see how SDGs impact their businesses. Besides that, they will be able to quickly identify aspects to improve on.
Create Business Opportunities and Collaborate
Another thing that you can do as a business owner to incorporate SDGs into your plans is to create business opportunities. By identifying new business products, services, or models that drive toward the achievement of SDGs, new markets and customers will probably emerge.
Among the key areas to consider when creating business opportunities are education, underserved geographies, and sectors related to combating climate change, such as energy efficiency.
Truth be told, it is almost impossible for a single company to solve all the challenges associated with achieving SDGs. Thus, collaboration is vital, not only within your business sectors but also across different industries.
So as a business owner, find opportunities to collaborate with peers, suppliers, customers, and non-profit organizations. In addition, partner with governments and civil society to deploy needed resources that promote sustainable living.
Conclusion on Including Sustainable Development Goals in Business Plans
The beauty of SDGs is that they offer companies to engage with stakeholders and create sustainable strategies to help positively transform their business testing. By aligning your business plans with this universal framework, you can better your organizational values, employees, and the global environment. Not to forget the fact that including SDGs in your business plan can also lead to financial profit.
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