Introducing the Sustainable Development Goals

   The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you’re not going to stay where you are.

J P Morgan, American Financier

At the turn of this century the United Nations launched the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) which aimed to drive improvements in developing countries including health, access to education, clean water, poverty and hunger eradication. In most of these areas significant progress was made and it was agreed that the next stage should build on this and aim much higher.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), centre around the key principles of sustainable development, Economy, Society and Environment and were introduced in January 2016. They provide 17 goals with supporting targets to work towards and resources to help individuals, organisations and businesses to commit to making a difference.

Extensive research has been carried out across the range of United Nations organisations looking at how the various goals work together including the findings of the Towards a Green Economy report. It was found that work to eradicate poverty, empower women, and improve health were all interlinked with improvements in the environment but work was needed to strengthen supporting financial mechanisms, policy frameworks and intergovernmental relationships.

The seventeen goals are intended to enable and encourage commitments to achieving progress, aiming to accelerate change.


They are:

1    No Poverty

2    Zero Hunger

3    Good Health and Well-being

4    Quality Education

5    Gender Equality

6    Clean Water and Sanitation

7    Affordable and Clean Energy

8    Decent Work and Economic Growth

9    Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

10  Reduced Inequalities

11  Sustainable Cities and Communities

12  Responsible Consumption and Production

13  Climate Action

14  Life Below Water

15  Life On Land

16  Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

17  Partnerships for the Goals


Organisations around the world are now using the SDGs to determine the commitments they wish to make in their sustainability strategies. Which ones resonate with you? How could you implement actions towards them in your business?

It is important to ensure that the commitments made are relevant to the work of the organisation, so in some cases only one goal may be selected, in others many are included. Of course other frameworks may be a better fit, it is the decision to start making progress towards improvement that is important and it takes time to define the right targets for you.

In the coming weeks we will take a look at each of the goals, giving consideration to why they have been included and how individual and organisations might work towards them and play a part in a better future for everyone, all over the world.


This post was prepared by our Managing Director, Sandra Norval. Creating Sustainability Strategies using existing frameworks such as the SDGs can help provide clarity and support the delivery of change. The SDGs provide one such framework and we will look at others in future blog series, join our mailing list for updates on the latest posts. Find out how Catalicity can support the development of your strategy on our main website.



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