The millennium development goals launched in 2000 to tackle poverty, education, health, hunger and environmental issues around the world. Some targets have been met, for example access to improved drinking water, while others, such as reducing maternal mortality rates, have been missed.
But as 2015 comes to a close their time is up and they are set to be replaced by 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), stretching to 2030. The private sector has been involved in devising the framework for the SDGs, and the private sector will have a hand in their delivery too.
Goal 2 for example seeks to end hunger and address nutrition. Goal 7 aims to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030, and Goal 8 concerns the protection labour rights and promotion of safe and secure working environments. In each of these, business has a role.
But it’s not just a case of what business can do for the SDGs. In setting the development agenda for the next 15 years, the SDGs give business a sense of what makes a smart sustainability plan and sensible investment.