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UN Sustainable Development Goals: What are they and how will they impact your business?
19 Dec 2017

Sustainability is a word being thrown around a lot lately. Many businesses now use the term as a marketing tool, as customers are asking for more socially responsible goods and services. But what does the term actually mean?



The UN has set out their list of goals on sustainability, which may be of interest for businesses and not-for-profits when thinking about strategic direction. Read more about it here.


  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Despite extreme poverty rates being cut by more than half since 1990, there are still too many who live just above this line. How can businesses help to alleviate these statistics both at home and overseas?  Are there education scholarships that can be given out? Are living wages granted to workers, producers and farmers?


  1. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Sustainable food sources can provide nutrition, generate income and help protect the environment. How can food production and consumption in your workplace be developed?


  1. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Life expectancy is on the up, but many diseases and ongoing health issues need more attention for all people of all ages. How is the well-being of workers throughout your whole production line being cared for?


  1. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Quality education can be the foundation of improving a person’s life in a sustainable way. What are some ways your business can be encouraging and improving the standards of education for those who don’t have access to it?


  1. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Providing women and girls with equal access to health-care, education, work opportunities, and representation at a political level creates a greater impact than just for the individual. With the opportunity to benefit society at large by investing in women, what can your business be doing to assist in this?


  1. Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Water scarcity and poor water quality can negatively impact food security and health standards. How are you ensuring others get access to clean water? How can you be preserving and avoid polluting the water in your own situation?


  1. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Sustainable energy has the potential to change lives, economies and the planet. Are there ways you can be using more sustainable energy sources? Can you be supporting others to do the same?


  1. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

How can you be providing sustainable jobs which support your workers, the environment and the economy? How can you ensure this endeavour won’t burn out, leaving others without work?


  1. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Quality infrastructure is foundational for the success of many communities. How can you promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, while supporting small-scale industries and enterprises?


  1. Reduce inequality within and among countries

Inequality includes financial, social and environmental factors. What policies have you implemented that seek to reduce inequality within your own country and overseas?


  1. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

These days, cities are facing congestion, lack of funds for basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and deteriorating infrastructure. How can you provide services that enhance the city, rather than strain the resources currently available?


  1. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

In order to reduce pollution and waste, and increase quality of life, how can you aim at “doing more and better with less”?


  1. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Are there actions you can be taking now to decrease your greenhouse gas emissions or even become carbon neutral?


  1. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

How can you reduce your impact on the oceans? What fishing practices do you engage with? What are you putting into the waters?


  1. Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reserve land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

How are you adding to the forests? How can you help support the ecosystem?


  1. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

How can you help support countries affected by war and corruption? How can you establish an inclusive society in your own neighbourhood?


  1. Revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

How do you support global sustainable development? How do you choose to trade with?


While the above are all just topics to think over, any business wishing to be sustainable should seriously consider how they respond to these topics.


This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation, please contact Steven Moe.

Parry Field Lawyers (03 348-8480) stevenmoe@parryfield.com

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