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Planet Earth is in something of a predicament. Enormous global economic and social challenges are compounded by an eroding environment. Change has to be imminent, otherwise, the planet we call home may no longer feel so homely.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (or SGDs for short) set out and explain the key priorities to be worked on over the next decade. Solving these dilemmas could result in an end to extreme poverty, inequality, injustice, and climate catastrophe. The SDGs offer some hope, as governments around the world have vocalised their support.
Now, it’s time for businesses of all shapes and sizes to show how responsible they are, how they can lead from the front, and how they can apply all of the tools and support available to make sustainability a core focus rather than an afterthought.
Imvelo was started on these core values and continues to develop them and embed them in the work we do with our clients, as we will continue to explain in this article. Firstly…
How exactly are businesses using the SDGs to change their values and operations?
You can think of the SDGs as a sort of compass for a better planet. They will point us in the right direction, but simply knowing which way to go is not enough, we have to map out a logical journey. That business journey looks something like this:
- Understanding the 17 different SDGs, why businesses can benefit by driving them forward, and why businesses have a responsibility to pursue them
- Looking inwardly at the business activities, communities, operations, supply chains and researching and collecting data on which of the 17 SDGs are most relevant and offer the greatest impact to those involved
- Setting realistic goals and KPIs that would present clear sustainability progress, expressing an ambition to pursue the SDGs, and making a public commitment to staff, shareholders, communities and even further afield, about the new strategy
- Pivoting certain aspects of the business in order to support and pursue the SDGs, embedding sustainability throughout the business at all levels with the help of outside expertise and partnerships
- Reporting on the highs and lows, sharing information with outside parties to help streamline and find best practices, and communicate effectively about the sustainability mission
For a greater detailed explanation on the 5 points above, this guide is quite exhaustive.
Can local businesses really offer a global effect?
Yes. Yes. Yes! Local business leaders can become global business leaders, such is the power of great ideas, bringing people together, and uniting multiple sectors in ways that responsible business has never before witnessed. Right now we are part of the world’s biggest-ever corporate sustainability drive, at a time in history where businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to multi-nationals are sharing the same conviction for making a more sustainable global market. Society as a whole can prosper, but it doesn’t need to be top-down, as many businesses operate, instead it can function bottom-up, starting with grassroots business movements, such as small cafés committing to ban plastic straws and anaerobically digest food waste, or local beach cleanups shining a light on ocean plastic waste.
What local businesses that engage in sustainability often find is that they enter a new market, welcoming more conscious and thoughtful customers who support their purpose and feel that their personal and societal needs are being met through the services offered. This is great news for all concerned.
How can you start to make a behavioural or cultural shift in your business?
Before we tell you exactly how we can help you, we want you to first accept that the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are the best possible guideline for a positive future that there is to offer. Sustainability no longers exists on the edge of business as a novelty, it has become the sharp and pointy tip of the spear that will unite services, products, customers, and change all over the world.
Just because a great charge for sustainability has started, it doesn’t mean it has finished. We have barely scratched the surface regarding what needs to be done to solve the complexities of this beautiful and gargantuan planet. With great urgency, we need inventors, developers, entrepreneurs and courageous visionaries and leaders to turn ideas and concepts into technologies and solutions. As a result, new and exciting markets will blossom and spiral into new impacts and ask new questions of humanity’s capacity to innovate. Local businesses can choose to be a part of this change, or get swept up and destroyed by it.
How is Imvelo helping local businesses to pivot towards sustainability?
- We have the knowledge, tools, expertise, resources, ideas, and dedication to drive change
- We understand the strategies required for businesses to develop sustainability internally
Here are just a few examples of what we are doing:
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
We are working with businesses in various industries, supporting them as they pursue partnerships that can lead to the development of solutions for interesting environmental challenges. We support these businesses on their sustainability journeys through both consultancy and expert training.
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
We help businesses to explore their supply chains and sustainable procurement decisions, as well as offering insight into local and sustainable sourcing options. As well as this, we lend our expertise to resource management strategies that help to maximised resources and close the loop, minimise carbon footprint, and make significant environmental progress.
SDG 13 – Climate action
We help businesses to introduce ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems to mitigate their business’ impact on the environment, as well as implementing improvement programmes for carbon reduction and legal compliance. Some of these initiatives also touch on SDG14 and SDG15.
SDG 15 – Life on land
Imvelo’s Founder, Tamma Carel, has a personal venture called #ImveloGardenProject, which is a small-scale hedgehog rewilding sanctuary. For this work, she has been recognised as a ‘Hedgehog Street Champion’. Tamma also gets involved in litter picking days with Climate Action North East, because leaders share their values by taking action.
A new era for sustainable business is truly upon us.
Are you going to pick up the phone and work with Imvelo to be a part of it?