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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call from the United Nations to fight poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all. They were adopted by all 193 UN member states in 2015 and consist of 17 goals to be achieved by 2030. These goals form the basis and serve as a guide for all corporate efforts to respect human rights, social justice and sustainability in relation to nature and the environment.

The SDGs offer companies a guideline for aligning their activities with global sustainability goals. They not only offer an opportunity to act in a socially responsible manner, but can also open up new business opportunities and contribute to risk mitigation.

The 17 goals are

  1. No poverty

  2. No hunger

  3. Health and well-being

  4. High-quality education

  5. Gender equality

  6. Clean water and sanitary facilities

  7. Affordable and clean energy

  8. Decent work and economic growth

  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure

  10. Less inequality

  11. Sustainable cities and municipalities

  12. Responsible consumption and production

  13. Measures for climate protection

  14. Life underwater

  15. Life ashore

  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

  17. Partnerships to achieve the goals

Rules and requirements

  1. Universal applicability: The SDGs apply to all countries and should be implemented by all social actors, including the private sector.

  2. Integration and holism: The objectives are interlinked and should be approached in a way that takes into account the ecological, social and economic dimensions.

  3. Measurability: Each goal has specific indicators that make progress measurable.

Application and obligations for companies

  1. Strategic integration: Integration of the SDGs into the corporate strategy and identification of how the company can specifically contribute to each goal.

  2. Sustainability reports: Companies should report transparently on their activities and progress in relation to the SDGs.

  3. Ethics and corporate governance: Ethical behavior and responsible corporate governance that is in line with the SDGs.

Challenges for companies

  1. Complexity: Integrating the SDGs into the business strategy can be challenging due to their breadth and complexity.

  2. Resources and investments: Required investments in new technologies and business processes can be considerable.

  3. Measuring the contribution: Quantifying a company's contribution to the SDGs can be difficult.