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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Waugh


Updated: Dec 17, 2020

In 2015, countries across the globe signed up to 17 common goals aiming to:

‘Create a better world by 2030, by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change

Led by the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were designed to fix some of the world’s biggest problems. They ask all of us to take collaborative action - whether that’s through government, our businesses, civil society or as individuals – to reduce our negative impact on the planet, and find ways to ensure people, animals and the environment can thrive.

As well as our moral obligation to the Goals, there is a strong business case for supporting them, particularly as we try to protect and rebuild our businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are 5 reasons it makes sense to use the SDGs as the foundation of your post-COVID strategy:

1. Building a business that can bounce back

Research shows that, during the last 6 months, companies with environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals embedded in their business have performed better for investors than the wider market. Those with an ethical product offering saw the greatest resilience and growth in this area of their business. Whilst these statements relate to the performance of big corporates, the findings are just as relevant to smaller businesses - if you start thinking about the future sustainability of your business now, and planning accordingly, it’s likely that you’ll be better able to ride out the storm in the future. The SDGs are a great starting point on which to build your sustainability strategy.

2. Hanging on to your clients

Whilst consumer trust in brands is generally low, shoppers are at the same time demanding more from the products they buy. Brands without a strong commitment to CSR are less likely to survive in a growing responsible market.

According to B Lab UK’s recent System Update poll, ‘the majority of the UK public would favour brands that are doing good in the world’. So, businesses that embrace the SDGs should have a competitive advantage as this shift in purchasing habits takes hold. They will be able to tap into the growing ethical and sustainable market and restore consumer trust.

3. Getting a step ahead of industry requirements

B Lab’s poll also found that ‘72% of the UK public think business should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people, alongside maximising profits’. As the 2030 deadline approaches to meet the SDG targets, governments are likely to introduce new legislation to encourage change to happen more rapidly.

Businesses that have already taken steps to work responsibly will be ahead of the curve and have a competitive advantage.

4. Protecting your supply chain

Whatever your business’s size or shape, it’s likely that some part of your supply chain is global, whether that’s the mine your metals come from or the cutting and polishing of your gemstones. The rise in global poverty and the impact of climate change is a significant threat to jewellery supply chains.

The price and availability of raw materials will become more volatile as supply chains are disrupted. Choosing to work with manufacturers and suppliers who are already taking steps to produce responsibly will help to protect your supply chain in the future.

5. Being a positive voice in a difficult time

It has been a tough few months for business, and it looks like it is going to continue for a while. Developing a strategy built on doing good in the world, sends a positive message to your staff and consumers. Focusing on social issues – like the health and wellbeing of your team or raising much-needed money for charities – can help improve your team's self-esteem and provide a focus beyond our immediate needs.

So how do you get started?

Looking at the titles of the 17 Goals above, it’s easy to think:

‘Yikes, how can I contribute to ending poverty?! Surely my brand’s too small to have any real impact?’

But there’s plenty you can do to make a contribution and reap the benefits for your business. Actions don’t have to be huge. All it takes is a commitment to small changes, and those little drops of effort will eventually turn into a whole sea of change.

For tips on how you can bring the SDGs to life in your business through simple, practical actions have a look at our resources page or read the next blog in this series. And if you need support to bring your ideas to fruition then drop us a line -

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