A new forecast by DNV GL concludes that while progress will be made towards many of the United Nations’ (UN’s) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals), there is a very real risk that they will not be met by 2030. The report predicts that action will not be fast nor fair enough, and will come at an unacceptable environmental cost — but reminds us that there is still time to reset the course of our “Spaceship Earth.”
Launched at the UN’s headquarters in New York, the report argues that business is uniquely positioned to drive the magnitude of action necessary to meet the Global Goals, and showcases 17 global companies driving extraordinary progress on each of them.
“For the most part, business has the technology, people and processes to rock the world. The challenge, therefore, isn’t the ‘smarts,’ it’s the take-up of the solutions proposed and piloted – the real scaling of these interventions,” said the Group President and CEO of DNV GL, Remi Eriksen.
The report, entitled “Spaceship Earth,” demonstrates that the actions that businesses, governments, organizations and individuals all over the world have begun to take in the year since the SDGs were launched will be insufficient to meet any of the goals on a worldwide scale. Similarly, no single region is expected to achieve the necessary progress towards all of the goals. Thus, DNV GL argues that urgent, “extraordinary action” is needed – and fast.
In hopes of inspiring businesses to contribute, solutions from Tata, Danone, HiTechnologies, ARM, Symantec, Grundfos, SolarWorld, NYK, Hydro, Safaricom, Siemens, Marks & Spencer, Iberdrola, Cermaq, Asia Pulp & Paper, Calvert Investments and Unilever are included in the report as examples of how companies are driving sustainable change through innovations, partnerships and adjustments to business models. For example, pump solutions company Grundfos is contributing to SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation through its technologies and by considering impacts across the entire water cycle such as by protecting sources, using less energy during extraction and fewer chemicals in treatment, and reducing water loss through distribution networks.
“The need for water and sanitation on a global scale is evident – and the lack of equal access to both is one of the world’s greatest risks in the future,” the President and CEO of Grundfos, Mads Nipper, commented. “Technology is crucial. We need to supply intelligent solutions to integrated water resource management.”
Marks & Spencer is featured for its ongoing Plan A initiative to become the world’s most sustainable retailer, which aligns with SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Unilever is featured for SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, due to the numerous partnerships under its Sustainable Living Plan, such as its toilet cleaner brand Domestos work with UNICEF related to SDG 6 and the Champions 12.3 coalition of companies working to halve per capita global food waste as per Target 12.3.
To help businesses align their efforts with the SDGs, UK-based Neighbourly recently launched a social platform that connects companies with local causes and community projects that are categorized according to the 17 SDGs.