The 25th September marks the sixth anniversary of the agreement in which the sheet of path for global sustainable development through the Development Goals Sustainable (SDG).

The SDGs have had and are having an impact on decision-making in a large part of the world’s countries. Analyzing these first years, it is concluded that the SDGs have been significantly present in public institutions. But the SDGs also provide a number of opportunities in the private sector. From Naider we want to emphasize the framework of opportunities offered by the SDGs in the business field. The following article was written by Naider and published as a technical note on the website of the Vizcaya Federation of Metal Companies (FVEM).. p>

What What are the Sustainable Development Goals and who are they for?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), broadening the challenges that must be addressed to eliminate poverty and encompassing a wide range of issues interconnected through the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability. The SDGs are part of the 2030 Agenda approved by all the countries of the United Nations in 2015. Specifically, there are 17 objectives and 169 goals to be contextualized and integrated among all types of organizations. The structure of the 2030 Agenda makes it easy to address and share the SDGs at different levels and from different spheres, which includes organizations of all kinds, associations, public entities, private companies, third sector organizations, schools, universities or professional associations, among others. others.

The SDGs are a common framework within which define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations by 2030. They seek to mobilize global efforts around a set of common objectives and goals. The SDGs call for action among governments, businesses and civil society, to end poverty and create a dignified life and opportunities for all, within the limits of the planet.

The ODS and the company in terms of competitiveness

In the business context, the SDGs make a call on companies around the world to drive development sustainable through the solutions they develop, the practices corporations they adopt and the investments they make. In this way, the SDGs propose a universal and unified framework for companies to reinforce and increase its positive contribution to the 2030 Agenda and at the same time reduce its impacts negatives in terms of sustainability.

Using the 17 SDGs and 169 targets as a guide, The 2030 Agenda presents an opportunity for companies to transform their activity and bet on implementing solutions and technologies that allow facing global challenges in terms of sustainability. Between the different benefits highlighted by the companies that already operate under the framework defined by the 2030 Agenda, the following stand out:

  • Provides a coherent framework for push global sustainable development also from the scale business.
  • Fosters a common language and incorporates into the company’s mission some intangibles that favor the sense membership with the company of the staff and the set of stakeholders.
  • Multiply commitment and involvement of the team of people that make up the company by promoting productivity, ensuring greater satisfaction and, consequently, less turnover labor.
  • Activate new opportunities for market and allows you to view activities, products and technologies potential development.
  • It represents an opportunity to update company strategy and favor the culture of change and innovation.
  • Allows to anticipate the growing preferences of financial institutions to accompany sustainable business projects.
  • Positions the company in advance facing regulations and regulations of a future that is already present.
  • Contributes to reduce the risk of the company by introducing mechanisms, standards and certifications improvements in environmental management, quality management or people.
  • Fosters commitment to the transparency and accountability beyond financial reporting.
  • Facilitates the establishment of alliances and alignment with interest groups and with society.

For companies in the industrial sector, SDGs can be classified among the objectives of a transversal nature to any activity and those specific to each sector. With a transversal character SDG 3 “Health and Well-being”, SDG 5 “Equal Gender” SDG 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” and SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Solid Institutions”. With the set of these four transversal objectives companies advocate safety in the workplace work, equality of conditions between men and women, the conditions decent jobs and transparent and corruption-free institutions respectively.

On the other hand, among the most aligned objectives with the industrial sector, SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructures and SDG 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production since they are the ones with the greatest relationship. In the case of these two SDGs, the Agenda 2030 highlights specific goals for 2030 such as: modernizing infrastructure and reconvert the industries so that they are sustainable, using the resources more effectively and promoting the adoption of technologies and processes clean and environmentally sound industries or achieve sustainable management and the efficient use of natural resources, promoting practices such as circular economy.

In the same line and specifically for the sector of metal, the SDG 6 “Clean Water and Sanitation is also highlighted and SDG 7 “Affordable and clean energy related to the management of wastewater from production processes and the consumption of the energy.

Itinerary SDG adapted to each business reality

Based on the 17 SDGs, each company, taking into account its operations, characteristics and capabilities, has one impact or another on the 2030 Agenda. Although in its beginnings the vast majority of the resources of the 2030 Agenda were focused on administrations For some years now, the United Nations has developed a series of tools and specific guides for the business context. The Compass Guide and the website in which it groups all kinds of tools to facilitate the implementation of the SDGs. The Basque institutions have also prepared the Practical Guide for Organizations Vascas addressed to any organization in the Basque Country, public or private, small or large, and from any sector, with the aim of guiding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, whatever its level of involvement.< /p>

The SDGs are, therefore, a tool that structures the company’s strategy in terms of commitment, but fundamentally it does so in terms of competitiveness. There are methodological tools designed with companies and already implemented in the most restless. It is now up to us to know how to take advantage of them to join the wave of the 2030 Agenda, each from our small window to the world and with the pace and ambition that best suits our own business reality.

Marta Iturriza Mendia

PhD in Ecological Transition at Naider

The following have been taken as reference documents:

  • SDG Compass; The guide for business action on the SDGs.
  • The private sector before the SDGs; practical guide for action.
  • Spanish companies before the 2030 Agenda; analysis, proposals, alliances and good practices.
  • Practical guide for Basque organizations; how to implement the 2030 Agenda and contribute to the SDGs.
  • Naider SDG Business Profile