The World of Work Project

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 goals for humanity to work towards between the years 2015 and 2030. They have been adopted by all member nations of the UN and broadly span two main domains: society and nature.

Summary by The World of Work Project

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

Following on from the Millennium Development Goals, the UN introduced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by all member nations and which we as a planet are working towards achieving by the year 2030. In the words of the UN, these goals will help transform our world.

Each of the 17 goals focus on a specific area that we should work towards to ensure that humanity has a sustainable future on this planet, and each goal has multiple underlying targets associated with it.

The 17 Goals

The full list of goals is a follows:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnership for the Goals

You can learn more about the goals, as well as about all of the targets associated with them via the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals website.

What does this mean for organizations?

Organizations play a huge part in our global society, and carry a large responsibility when it comes to helping to transform the world and ensure that we have a sustainable future here.

Organizations should aim to become more responsible over time. They should assess their impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and try to mitigate any negative impacts and improve any positive impacts they may generate. It’s only through a concerted effort by everyone that we’ll be able to transform the world into the sustainable, inclusive and balanced place it should become.

The world is a delicate system, we need to look after it.

In addition, organizations should seek to align their strategies as much as possible to the Sustainable Development Goals, educate their employees about the goals and work with their suppliers to ensure they too are aware of the goals. Of course, this is rather idealistic, and we know there are many challenges and realities we need to face along the way, but it’s the direction we should head in.

The World of Work Project View

We think that the UN Sustainable Development Goals are an excellent high level set of goals to work towards. We know that they are complex, expensive and very hard to achieve. We also think that we need to try to make them happen if we are to sustain our current way of life on this planet.

We know it’s easy to dismiss goals like this as someone else’s responsibility, but the truth is that everyone has a role to play in making the world a sustainable place. If we don’t make progress in relation to these goals then the outcomes could be catastrophic.

To put it bluntly, if we don’t make material progress in relation to these goals then there is a risk of an extinction level event for humanity. It’s that simple.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, on conversations we’ve had with people working in this area and on general reading. There are no other specific references for it.


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