Sustainable development consists of satisfying the needs that we have in the present without putting at risk the ability of future generations to do the same, as well as guaranteeing a balance between economic growth, social well-being and biodiversity conservation.
The concept dates back to 1987. It appeared for the first time in the Brundtland report in which it warned about the impact that bad economic practices, industrial practices and globalization could have on the environment.
Many of the problems we face, such as climate change , social inequalities, garbage, hunger or water scarcity, can only be solved if we all become aware of the current situation and if we jointly promote a development model that is committed to social responsibility , social progress and economic growth as long as planetary limits are respected. Thus, we can apply sustainable development to the three branches of sustainability: environmental, social and economic.
Environmental sustainability consists of guaranteeing that nature is understood as a source of finite resources and that, therefore, a responsible and rational use is made of them. Therefore, it is about supporting investment in renewable energies, as well as betting on low or carbon-neutral mobility and sustainable architecture that helps protect the environment and combat problems such as climate change.
Social sustainability is based, as the term suggests, on the social level (as regards the people who make up a society). The central idea in this case is the development of people, communities and cultures so that one and the other can have a good quality of life, health and education; with the principles of fairness and justice. It pursues, among other causes, gender equality and the end of violence.
Economic sustainability occurs when economic growth produces equitable wealth and does not compromise natural resources. It is necessary that there is an investment and an equal distribution of economic resources to be able to promote all the variants of sustainability.
What are the SDGs?
In 2015, the United Nations approved the new 2030 Agenda that contains the Sustainable Development Goals sdg. It is a series of common goals that seek to protect the environment and guarantee the well-being of the world’s population as a whole.
Some of the objectives set out in this Agenda were:
- The eradication of poverty and hunger
- Ensuring a healthy life for all people
- Support through inclusive education the development of opportunities
- Universalize access to basic services
- Promote innovation and resilient infrastructures as well as sustainable consumption
- reduce inequalities
- Caring for and protecting the environment
- Promote collaboration between the different social agents to achieve an environment of peace and sustainable development.
In this search for total sustainability, companies play a very important role, so they must know the SDGs in order to carry out policies that are aligned with them. With this list of 17 goals to move towards, both public and private sector companies can launch a series of mechanisms and tools that allow them to promote new management models.
In order to integrate the SDGs into the management of the company, there are a series of steps that can be followed.
17 goals, 169 goals
The first of these is to understand the new United Nations framework, for which it will be necessary to analyze the 17 Goals and 169 goals that comprise the 2039 Agenda, and understand the role of business in this global challenge.
Understand the impact of the SDGs on the company
The second step will be to define priorities. This consists of understanding the impact of the SDGs on the company and, from there, identifying the objectives that can be aligned with the company’s main activity, and designing new forms of action to reduce the impact and contribute to achieving the SDGs. .
Third, each company needs to set its own goals. These must be specific, quantifiable and must have a fixed time frame. You can follow the SMART methodology (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). At this point it is very important to promote internal objectives to the outside.
Integrate the objectives in the company
Fourth: once the objectives have been set, they can be integrated into the company. For this, it will be necessary to promote leadership in senior management and train employees so that they know the 2030 Agenda and are consistent with the new goals of the company.
The last step could be to create a sustainability report that reflects all the activities that are being promoted in the company in order to comply with the SDGs .
In short, taking sustainable development as the company’s banner can not only give rise to new business opportunities (breaking through green markets), but it will also improve the brand itself through innovation, which will increase its reputation. In addition, of course, it will help protect the environment and combat climate change and social inequalities.