The Sustainable Development Goals: One Year On

The Sustainable Development Goals: One Year On

by Hannah Scott

Monday, September 26, 2016 - 12:10pm

CAMPAIGN: CBRE Environmental Sustainability


Today marks the one year anniversary of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals, agreed to by 193 world leaders, aim to achieve 17 bold objectives in less than 15 years.

The goals range from fighting hunger, to ending poverty, achieving equality and combating climate change. They are immense, but vital. To tackle even one of these goals on an individual level is daunting to say the least. Clearly, there is only so much the individual consumer can do alone. What we need is for organisations, governments, corporations, and NGOs to work together, that is where real progress can be made. From forming working groups, partnerships, and leading collaborative research, to creating frameworks for coordinated best practice, the potential for organisations to create change is huge.

So, what key things have we achieved in just 364 days?

  • Detailed implementation plans have been announced by governments, including the UK,France, and Germany, among others, providing direction for the industry;
  • 92% of businesses are aware of the SDGs, with 71% planning how to engage with these prior to their coming into effect;
  • The SDG Compass platform — developed by GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development — was launched, incorporating feedback from companies, government agencies, academic institutions and civil society organizations worldwide to provide a framework for companies to align their strategies, measure, and manage their contribution to the realization of the SDGs;
  • Growth in financing mechanisms, such as the Sustainable Development Goals Fund, an international multi-donor and multi-agency development tool to support SDG programmes; and
  • Corporations are starting to integrate the goals into their business practices: PatagoniaCoca ColaUnilever, and CBRE through our new Sustainable Offices programme for EMEA.
  • To me, the global goals are the epitome of sustainability. They pull together almost every major challenge the human race has ever faced, and importantly they are universal.

With 365 days down, and 5110 to go, I am optimistic. We have seen some ambitious efforts by individual organisations, and a key example of collaboration in the SDG Compass over the past 12 months, but with a lack of coordination between government and industry held largely to blame for not meeting the previous UN Millennium Development Goals, it is important that we continue this collaborative approach if we are to not repeat past mistakes.

I for one think we are on the right track, and look forward to what is to come.

CATEGORY: Environment