From Global to Local: Aligning SDGs with your Business Goals

Aarti DesaiBlog

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A sustainable focus for 2019

The Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an action taken by the United Nations and the world to address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. The 17 SDGs are all interconnected, and, as a global initiative, it’s up to local businesses to drive change. Every initiative counts and every new idea to help solve these issues is valuable*.

  • By switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, the world would save USD $120 billion.*
  • The global gender pay gap stands at 23%. Without action by businesses today to achieve better equality in the workplace, it will take another 68 years to achieve equal pay. *
  • If businesses worldwide focussed on reducing food wastage, the world would save 1.3 billion tonnes worth of food resulting in approx. USD $1 trillion.*

By positioning your organisation in line with Sustainable Development Goals, your organisation can contribute to something that really matters. These goals pose far reaching opportunities for businesses across all sectors and industries.

CSR and SDG go hand in hand

A simple way to build sustainable initiatives in your business can start from your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. Your CSR is about improving society, right? So why not use this as an opportunity to ‘think global’ about societal issues.

As your organisation starts to build out an annual CSR plan, look at what’s been done before, and search for the opportunity to align with the SDGs. You may find that some business goals and values support or pay tribute to specific goals already.

Example A: Develop skills for local minorities

CSR and SDGs

If your organisation defines its CSR focus area on helping to develop under skilled minorities, it is contributing to several SDGs, such as creating a way to end poverty (goal 1), quality education (goal 4), gender equality (goal 5) and decent work and economic growth (goal 8).

Example B: Energy efficient offices

CSR and SDGs

If your organisation chooses to install energy saving lightbulbs throughout a whole office or building, it is contributing towards affordable and clean energy (goal 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (goal 9) and sustainable cities and communities (goal 11).

Example C: Reduce food waste

CSR and SDGs

If your organisation chooses to reduce food waste, it is contributing towards ensuring responsible production and consumption (goal 12) as well as zero hunger by avoiding unnecessary food disposal (goal 2).

Shared goals can make a big impact

The more people you involve in your CSR strategy, the wider the impact. Consider who might have ideas to support the strategy and drive meaningful change: your employees, business partners and your customers. Ideas will come from your entire ecosystem, so make sure you have a way to track, collaborate, measure and celebrate the success driven from everyone doing their part to make a difference.

Go beyond socially responsible one-off initiatives and challenge yourself and the people around you to think about the Sustainable Development Goals in their everyday lives. There are simple things you can do to live more sustainably, small actions you take can make an difference.

Something to be proud of

As you embed a more sustainably focused CSR strategy, and involve more people, you can start to measure the impact and connect the value of your activities to your organisation’s bottom line. A big part of CSR is being able to measure success and accountability. What are you achieving? What value are you driving? What impact is it having?

Localise global issues and contribute to something that truly matters. You can even register your organisation in support of the implementation of SDGs to track your progress and outputs. Or as a bonus have a great PR story to share with others. In doing this, you’ll inspire other organisations to act.

The more initiatives that organisations drive on a local level, the more collectively we’ll impact global change. So, what do you say? Start saving the world on idea at a time.



By cutting down the length of till receipts, Waitrose is saving paper usage and an outstanding £167,000 annually. Read more

Danish Crowdsourcing ran an open innovation challenge to come up with new solutions for the construction industry to reduce waste. Read more
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* United Nations – Sustainable Development Goals https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals