Aligning the SDGs with your Startup Mission

Sustainability & Business – Can These Two Go Hand in Hand?

In a world in which natural, social, financial, and manufactured capital is being depleted at an alarming rate, startups may find themselves unable to continue to generate capital over the long run. Following the proliferation of problems throughout the world, a plan for creating a brighter future for everyone was approved by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015. The plan, which will be implemented over the following 15 years, lays out a route to eliminate extreme poverty while also combating inequality and injustice and protecting our environment. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which apply to all countries and leave no one behind, are at the core of the United Nations’ “Agenda 2030.” Each SDG indicates a risk area that is currently posing difficulties to startups and society, so if these threats are not addressed, they are expected to worsen and become much more severe in the future. 

Before anything else, let’s see what the 17 SDGs are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to Achieve the Goal

SDG Compass

The SDG Compass was formulated with a particular emphasis on big multinational corporations. But small and medium-sized startups, as well as other organizations, are urged to utilize it as a source of inspiration and to modify their operations as needed. It is likewise intended for usage at the entity level, but it may also be used at the product, site, divisional, and regional levels as needed. The Framework enables businesses to better align their innovation processes with the SDGs by using innovative techniques and innovative business models to develop the game-changing solutions required to achieve the SDGs. It draws on our experiences with methods like agile working, lean start-up, and information architecture, which many enterprises have already adopted to keep up with the rapid speed of technology and business change.

Defining priorities 

Setting goals is essential for achieving corporate success because it promotes shared objectives and improved performance across a company. The leadership can show their commitment to sustainable development by connecting business objectives with the SDGs. Startups should prioritize SDG objectives by determining which ones will have the most effective in terms of risk or potential in the medium to long term, as well as which goals they can help achieve. A business may contribute to all 17 objectives, but when distributing appropriate resources, it’s best to start with the ones that have the most effect.

Hierarchical implementation

The implementation of the SDGs should be done from the top-down, taking into consideration all offices and workers. The company’s leadership must investigate and determine what the firm, its customers, and workers stand for, as well as how this connects to the company’s overall strategy and goods. The sustainability team then decides which SDGs are the most important. If you’re adopting SGDs as part of an existing sustainability plan, mapping all of your past and present actions, comparing them to the framework, and deciding which are the most important ones to concentrate on a smart start.

Aligning with government policy

 The Sustainable Development Objectives (SDGs) have garnered the backing of 193 countries, which implies companies, no matter how big or small they are, make commitments to the goals may be seen more favorably by the public. Governments have been urged to promote sustainable practices and disseminate important information, allowing companies to get insight into future governmental laws and directives.

Innovation opportunities

It is undeniable that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not only define where we must be by 2030 to build a sustainable society, but they also outline new markets and possibilities for businesses across the globe. According to the Business & Sustainable Development Commission’s study “Better Business, Better World,” business models linked to the SDGs may provide possibilities worth up to $12 trillion and 380 million jobs by 2030. In order to be successful, we must translate global objectives into local commercial opportunities. The private sector can offer solutions to numerous global issues, including climate change, water shortage, and food insecurity, as well as poverty, conflict, and inequality, resulting in a large and growing market for corporate innovation. Integrity and values will have a major impact on the speed with which new business models and procedures are changed. 

Assess supply networks 

Supply networks are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the depletion of natural resources, which correspond to SDGs 12, 13, 14 and 15 on the environment. Political instability (SDG No. 16), inequality (SDG No. 10) and underdevelopment in certain areas (SDGs 1, 2, 3, and 4) all restrict the potential of these developing countries’ economies. Tackling these and many other risks may be a sound business decision since stakeholders hold businesses responsible for their involvement in causing or aggravating the dangers they are concerned about. Companies are able to retain their social license to operate by responding to the requirements of their stakeholders in various areas of operation.

What’s next for the SDG’s?

SDGs were developed via a process that was more inclusive than ever before, with governments engaging businesses, civil society organizations, and people from the beginning. We are all in accord with the direction the world should go. To achieve these objectives, a coordinated effort from all sectors of society will be required — and business will play an important part in the process.