The Global Goals: for Businesses Wanting to Make a Difference

We live in a time when the survival of the planet and humanity is under increasing threat.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a world where:

  • 10% of the world’s population live on under $1.90 a day.[1]
  • 39 in every 1000 children die before reaching five.[2]
  • 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water.[3]
  • 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet.[4]
  • Over 260 million primary and secondary aged children do not go to school[5]
  • Humans are responsible for the quickest mass extinction of species in the history of the planet.[6]
  • Current human consumption rates need three planets rather than the one we have.[10]
  • We’re experiencing the highest levels of population displacement and refugees on record as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights (68.5 million and 25.4 million respectively).[7]
  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer some kind of mental health problem each year.[9]

Some of these problems we are facing are caused by natural forces however many are undoubtedly caused by one of the most successful yet destructive species: human beings.

What’s important to you? What can we do?

Stop. 

Reflect.

Change.

Don’t we all have a responsibility to care for others, be kind to all living creatures and to look after our planet?

The Global Goals

In 2015 leaders from all UN member states united to define the 17 Sustainability Development Goals–also known as the Global Goals, SDGs and World’s to do list.

The aim of these goals is to tackle the key challenges that threaten the sustainability of humanity, peace and the planet by 2030.

These goals (underpinned by 169 targets) are a call to action for everyone to take responsibility for ending poverty, look after the planet and work towards peace and prosperity for all-leaving no one behind.

The need for businesses to embrace the Global Goals

The Global Goals are being embraced to varying degrees by individuals, schools, communities, businesses, governments and countries around the world.

In 2018 the Social Progress Index estimated that at current rates, it will take until 2094 to meet these ambitious goals.

Most governments are failing to embrace these effectively and it’s widely recognised that the only way we’re going to save humanity and the planet is if businesses embraces these goals.

Business is the most powerful and influential force in most modern societies in terms of the people they employ, the practices they adopt across operations, their supply chain and stakeholders.

Consumers, staff and investors expect business to do good in their quest to make money. Businesses that ignore these social preferences do so at their peril.

Everyone running, leading or working in a business or organisation, has a part to play in helping tackle the world’s most critical problems.

A powerful framework for businesses to do good

The Global Goals are an excellent framework individuals, governments, schools, workplaces and businesses can use to help make communities and the world a better place.

Aligning your business to the Global Goals can help you:

  • Clarify the impact you want to make and what you stand for; personally and through your business/work.
  • Define your social impact mission statement – how you articulate the impact you intend to make through your business.
  • Decide the best business impact strategies for your business – aligning your business to the Global Goals that resonate with your values (and those of your organisation or people) can help identify and guide you towards the most appropriate type of impact activities to embrace.
  • Engage your staff, communities and other stakeholders – there are many ways the Global Goals could be incorporated into engagement and communication strategies to develop deeper relationships with those important to your business. Giving all your people the opportunity to align at least part of their work to the global goal they resonate with the most, could add more meaning their work–the number one factor happy people at work say contributes to their happiness.[8]
  • Develop evolved compassionate leaders – the nature of leadership is changing to one where leaders are expected to stop leaving their heart at the door and to be more human at work. The Global Goals can help leaders clarify what’s really important to them and their people. Imagine what could be different if all leadership programmes put impact activities based on these goals at their core, to teach and develop critical leadership skills.
  • Measure your impact – where the above are in place this makes it easier to define and measure the meaningful impact of your impact your business.
  • Attract more business opportunities – when you put impact and purpose at the heart of your business and have meaningful results, you can share these with others. By doing this consistently, in your actions people will begin to trust you’re doing this for the right reasons and are more likely to want to buy from you, work with you and invest in you.

Useful Links and Resources


[1] World Bank Report, September 2018. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/10/17/nearly-half-the-world-lives-on-less-than-550-a-day

[2] World Health Organisation,

[3] Water.org, April 2019, https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/

[4] Water.org, April 2019, https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/

[5] UNESCO, Global education monitoring report, 2017/8 –https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259338

https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259338

[6] National Geographic, Mass Extinction Article,  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/prehistoric-world/mass-extinction/

[7] UN Refugee Agency, 2017 Statistics, https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/statistics/

[8] Wrike Happiness Index Survey, 2018 – https://www.wrike.com/blog/what-happy-employees-actually-care-about/

[9] McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

[10] SEPA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8iSvFx3YJo

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Comments (2)

  • And Glasgow Caledonian University has built its strategy around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. You might want to talk with the Principal or Prof. Cam Donaldson who are very committed to using the goals to measure impact and progress.

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