If you’re the leader of a business, there’s a strong chance that you’ve already assessed your impact on the planet and the world around you. If not, it might be time to do so. A recent US report found that 85% of consumers have become more eco-conscious in recent years, while sustainability has become an important purchase criterion for 60% of shoppers.
Sustainability has become an important purchase criterion for 60% of shoppers
In 2015, the UN established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a series of targets for nations and societies to achieve by 2030. If you’re hoping to take your company to the next level while bearing people and the planet in mind, these are a great place to start.
85% of consumers have become more eco-conscious in recent years
In today’s blog, we’re going to share 6 ways companies can help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – keep reading to find out more!
What Are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
The UN SDGs are as follows:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Wellbeing
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life On Land
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Partnerships for the Goals
As part of your sustainable business plan, we recommend taking a deep dive into each of these goals on the UN’s official page to understand how and why they’ve been put in place. If you’re short on time, here are 6 ways you can join the fight and start making these goals a possibility!
6 Ways Companies to Help Achieve the UN’s SDGs
1. Make Your Events Food Waste-Free
In a study by Lime Event Portfolio, it was discovered that food accounts for 40-80% of post-event feedback. With this in mind, it makes sense that hosting businesses would want to ensure they’ve got plenty of edibles to go around. The problem is, research shows that the events industry alone wastes up to 10% of food produced.
In order to fulfil SDG 13, which focuses on climate action, businesses must do their part to eliminate harmful food waste from their events.
This can be done by:
- Provide food based on RSVPs, not estimated attendees
- Offer take-home boxes at the end of each event
- Partner with a local homeless shelter to repurpose leftovers
- Incorporate a commercial FoodCycler to recycle food instead of trashing it
2. Improve Workplace Health and Wellbeing
SDG 3 sets out the plan for good health and wellbeing, and since most of us spend the majority of our lives working, it’s essential to incorporate this into your company culture. As well as contributing to the UN’s goals for 2030, you can also boost retention and productivity by making wellness a priority at your company.
A simple wellbeing program could include:
- Free gym memberships or in-work fitness classes
- Free fruit and vegetables, plus healthy beverage options
- Complimentary counselling or mental health services
- Health awareness workshops on sustainable wellbeing habits
3. Iron Out Gender Inequality
We’ve come a long way in the last few decades when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, but there’s still more to be done. Only 76.8 cents on average is earned by full-time women working in Canada for every dollar made by men. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the gap is even wider for women who are Indigenous, living with a disability, racialized or newcomers.
Women earn an average of 76.8 cents for every dollar made by men
If you’re looking to make your company more sustainable in line with the UN SDGs, it’s crucial to evaluate your pay policies, as well as the treatment of marginalized genders in the workplace.
4. Opt for Green Energy
Switching to greener energy supplies might not be a possibility if you share an office or occupy a co-working space, but there are ways you can have a positive impact. Old appliances and heaters can consume a lot of energy, as well as a general lack of awareness of how wasted energy harms the planet.
In order to make your energy supplies more sustainable, you can try:
- Switching out inefficient appliances for more energy-efficient options
- Turning off appliances and devices when they’re not in use
- Use automatic lighting systems to avoid unnecessary wastage
- If possible, switch to a green energy provider for your office supplies
5. Reward Climate-Friendly Activities
If recent years have taught us anything, it’s that the climate crisis is already taking hold. SDG 13 is all about taking climate action – whatever that looks for you and your business. By rewarding climate-conscious behaviour in your company, you can make a long-term impact on the future of our planet.
Here are some ways you can encourage sustainability in the workplace:
- Offer a cycle-to-work scheme to minimize the use of carbon-heavy transport
- Create a strict recycling policy and provide the supplies needed to do so
- Encourage a healthier (and greener) food culture and shopping local
- Offer a bonus scheme for workers who volunteer with local green initiatives
6. Form Positive Partnerships
One of the best ways to increase your company's awareness of sustainability and work towards the UN’s goals is by uniting with your community. You can do this by partnering with similar enterprises or even sponsoring organizations with a positive message you believe in. The climate crisis can only be tackled if we work together as one world – a philosophy captured perfectly by the UN’s SDGs.
Do what you can to make a difference and join with your community to spread the word – every little helps!
Whether you’re a legacy corporation or a startup new to the market, there are hundreds of ways you can make a positive impact on the future of our planet. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a great place to start, mapping out ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and change lives for the better.
Want more tips on living a planet-friendly lifestyle? Visit the FoodCycler blog to discover insights, guides and more!
A Note on Terminology