The purpose of business is first and foremost to serve society. Integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into company business strategies has helped most companies not only to make good profits but also increase their social impact. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Safaricom, and MTN have incorporated sustainability practices into their business strategy to live out their missions and visions whilst halving their environmental footprint.
Companies which align their business strategies with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) have a higher probability of achieving long-term growth and development by 2030. To achieve this, companies need to set ambitious goals – reduce their carbon footprint, ensure sustainable packaging of their products, embrace renewable sources of energy such as MTN which uses solar energy to run its base station. In East Africa, Safaricom has integrated nine of the 17 SDGs in their business strategies. It has recorded progress in areas such as good health and well-being through M-Tiba, quality education, decent work, and economic growth, responsible consumption and production.
The SDGs are not only a scorecard on how well the world is doing but also an enormous opportunity to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. At a time where jobs and growth are needed for development, the plan is already laid out for us. It is only in the best interest of business to act.
Appointing the right leaders, innovating sustainable solutions that improve people’s lives, inspiring more sustainable choices and working in partnership with others to drive lasting change means applying an SDG lens to every aspect of strategy.
The beauty of the goals is that; they are all interconnected – no single goal is more important than the other. Every business can make a difference regardless of its size. It is up to each business to identify the key areas they can improve on to have the greatest impact. It is also important to seek out partners in order to create a shift across the industry.
Putting sustainability at the heart of an organizations operations, are some of the practical steps, we can take to supporting the SDGs. This has helped companies such as Unilever to cut down costs, reduce risks, drive growth and engrain a sense of purpose in the organization. Moreover, transparency is key to increased partnerships which unlock new markets for organizations.
The moral obligation of aligning to the SDGs is clear. No longer must moral and business principles clash; now business will do well by doing good. It is truly one of the most exciting business opportunities of our time.
Successful delivery of SDGs will create market opportunities of at least 12 trillion per year and create 380 million jobs by 2030 in key economic areas – food and agriculture, energy, health, and well-being and cities. Companies that align themselves with the SDGs framework have the potential to grow 2/3 times faster than the average Gross Domestic Product in the next 15 years.
Many companies are headed in the right direction If we harness willpower and creativity in the right way and partner with others there are unlimited opportunities in SDGs – driven businesses. SDGs demand for a more sustainable form of capitalism which is crucial to working in collaboration with others.
Consumers are demanding change around the world prompting more businesses and governments to step up to the plate with bold actions. In addition to this most businesses have realized that action on climate somehow affects economic growth. We need to give confidence that businesses can grow inclusively and sustainably and that policies which reward sustainable behavior are better for the bottom line.