Introduction to Sustainable Development and UN SDGs
As the world fights with climate change, loss of biodiversity, scarcity for natural resources and conflicts arising out of such scarcities – Sustainable development is in the news almost every day. We need to acknowledge that the countries around this world face universal challenges that can only be addressed effectively through partnership between governments, corporates and citizens.
Sustainability is the foundation for today’s leading global framework for international cooperation. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries, developed and developing – in a global partnership.
In the coming weeks, I will be blogging and podcasting about each of these development goals, what these goals actually mean, where do we stand in these goals now, what is the role of business, governments, citizens to meet these goals and so on. This is an introductory post in that series.
So, what is sustainability and sustainable development?
Oxford defines sustainability as, “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”.
Most frequently quoted definition for sustainable development is from the famous Brundtland report from 1987, which states that, “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Why should we be interested in sustainable development and UNSDGs?
If you are an individual, you will understand the real state of the planet, its urgent needs and understanding the SDGs will motivate you and trigger you to be a positive change in the society. You can use this opportunity to evaluate your own behaviour and understand the impact you can create towards positive change.
If you are a business entity, you will understand the role of business in the transition towards a more sustainable world. You will also understand that the SDGs are interconnected and the impact your business create on one of the goal may have a negative impact on another goal. You will get some insight on how businesses can help drive the sustainability agenda by effectively partnering with citizens and governments.
Last but not least, I will try to demystify the myth that huge investments are needed in order to take up your green business agenda. On the contrary, business can get benefited by being sustainable.
I will end this introductory note with these words. “Business is not about profit maximization, but about creating a societal value. Profits are a means, not an end in itself.”