SDGs Integration: How to Do It Right?
Formulated by the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals are a key principle of planning any environmental, urban or other interventions. SDGs calls for a balance between economic, social and environmental spheres. This global call for action to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure global cohesion, peace and prosperity, consists of 17 objectives, which include 169 targets and 232 indicators. It addressees a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues, such as improving health and education, building sustainable cities and communities, fighting climate change, protecting land, water and forests. Any business or organization getting to know and trying to use SDGs in their everyday practices are usually getting lost in all this. This then results in SDGs becoming just a vague and declarative slogan.
However, global strategy of this scale requires wide partnerships and high engagement of all decision-makers, private sector and civil society. Current tendency towards sustainability promotes versatile ways for responsibility and integration of SDGs into business models, organizational culture, policy making, urban planning and spatial development. This type of integration can become not only an empty slogan or real contribution to global sustainability but also an excellent opportunity for new activities, partnerships and development. The inclusion of SDGs can help creating new service ecosystems, manage risks and reduce costs, improve public image and build long-term strategies, develop quality relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders.
The big question here is how to approach SDGs, so they can become opportunities for growth. To do it integrally, firstly, you must know clearly who you are, what you are doing and why – know thyself. Secondly, you should select what SDGs suits your identity best – choose the path. And lastly, you have to recognize connections that come your way – execute possibilities.
KNOW THYSELF - Don‘t be an alien. Businesses and organizations tend to assume a lot about the world their customers live in, employees operate and culture manifests. Understanding the context makes all the difference towards sustainable growth. This deep understanding requires certain type of tools: empathy, not just statistics, observation, not just examples and interpretation, not just pure analysis.
CHOOSE THE PATH: Integrity, integrity. Integral strategy of choosing SDGs enables the power to grow capitalizing on what you have. To do that, first you have to observe the context in plans for development, then keep an eye for trends in perspective, always seek for transformation of culture and finally set SDGs as main values and part of the mission.
EXECUTE POSSIBILITIES: Connect, not profit. Making effective moves towards success, sustainability and resilience is based on a particular mindset: seeing organization as an organism, seeking for possibilities rather than options and finally doing exploration, rather than exploitation.
Integrating SDGs in a right way, allows to connect it with your core values and mission, enables growth, expanding your field of possibilities and, in the end, creates resilience and stability.
Author: Eugenijus Kaminskis / Homo Eminens