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4 tips for achieving business sustainability in 2024

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals that aim to:

·       protect the planet,

·       end poverty,

·       ensure peace & prosperity by 2030.

They were created and adopted by the United Nations and supported by governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals around the world.

The United Nations intent is for the SDGs to be achieved by 2030.

Its 2024! We now only have just six years to deliver on these goals.

·       4 tips for engaging your people to make SDGs part of your business success in 2024.


Tip 1: Educate your teams about the SDGs and their relevance for your business.

Create your own business videos or access online videos and e-learning materials. Alternatively, conduct face to face leaning lunches that engage your team on how SDGs are relevant to your business, customers, and all stakeholders. Make SDG education a part of induction for all your new team members.

Some organisations are using fun quiz activities, games, and social media apps to educate their teams on SDGs and why they are important to the work they do.

Tip 2: Involve your teams in setting your SDG objectives and measures of success.

At an organisational level senior leaders often list the SDG’s to be achieved in their strategic planning documents. The common gap is employees haven’t been involved and don’t know how they can help. Surveys show that employees are concerned about the environment, climate change and social justice. Start including your team members in these discussions.

You could facilitate SDG team huddles across your organisation, have a goal for each team to identify the SDG’s they can help make happen. Align the SDG initiatives with your teams’ skills, interest and products or services. Use the SMART goals method (SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to set measures on how the team will perform on achieving their SDG initiatives.

SDG initiatives, when done well, improve teamwork and productivity in a team.    

Tip 3: Integrate the SDGs into your culture through your HR Plans and reward and recognition program.

You will find many of the SDG’s will match your organisational values and so it easy to add them as a theme or a category of your reward and recognition programs. Here are some examples from organisations who have chosen to motivate and encourage SDG action:

Create an award for the best green initiative by a team; or the most money raised for local community or social justice cause; give recognition to teams who show how their work, products or services engage and add value to local community groups. There are many ways to engage and reward your team in SDG initiatives. You can enter a team initiative or organisational initiative in the UN’s SDG Good Practice, or the SDG Action Awards and your organisation can be recognised globally as making an impact. Past winners of these UN global awards have been Outland Denim (Australian company), Intrepid Travel (Australia), Aerofarms (UK) IKEA (Sweden), Unilever (UK), Patagonia (USA).

As part of your green human resource management (GHRM) plans include SDGs in performance and development plans and people matter surveys. This is a great way to ensure your team can engage and give feedback on what is working well and what needs to keep improving. This empowers your teams to be proactive in achieving personal goals relevant to their work and your organisational goals. It can also give your organisation real testimonials and cases studies of how you are achieving the SDG’s. Include SDGs on your website, recruitment, internal system platforms, dashboards, and communication methods. Empower your team to be part of the communication and allow them to add stories that are shared with customers, shareholders, and the broader community.      

Include SDGs in your leadership development programs. Bring them into your emerging leader programs, middle management, and executive leadership programs. Build sustainable leaders who will have the confidence and capability to lead their teams in achieving the SDGs by 2030. 


Tip 4: Integrate the SDGs in your teams’ operations and supply chain.

The fourth tip to engage your teams in implementing the SDGs is to integrate the SDGs in your teams’ operations and supply chain – this refers to the processes and activities that your teams perform to deliver your products or services to your customers or beneficiaries.

You can use the SDGs as a lens to examine and improve your teams’ performance and impact on various aspects of your operations and supply chain, such as:

Innovation and product development: You can use the SDGs as a source of inspiration and opportunity for innovation and product development. Applying the SDGs to your operations and supply chain often leads to less waste costs, less energy costs. It can broaden your team’s thinking about all stakeholders and how their work impacts the customer, the community, and the environment. This often leads to productivity efficiencies within your team and with suppliers.

Some organisations have added sustainability and the SDG’s into their total quality management system. Many are now adding SDG;s into their contracts and service agreements with suppliers. Smart organisations encourage their teams to workshop and project plan with suppliers on ways to include SDGs into their workplans and operating costs together.

By adding SDGs into your operations and supply chain you can truly demonstrate how your products and services are adding value, are green, are sustainable. This will protect your brand from criticism of greenwashing and increase your risk management against government or civil litigation. Your team members will be able to proudly promote their products and work to their family and friends, and more people will be attracted to your organisation.

By following these tips, you can engage your teams in implementing the SDGs in your organisation and create positive value and impact for your business and your stakeholders.

I hope this post has helped you consider engaging your teams in implementing the SDGs to make your business more sustainable and successful.

If you are looking for more information on ways to make SDGs come alive in your organisation please contact us at LN Consulting Australia


Paul Saunders

Paul is an organisational psychologist working with organisations who want to create great work cultures so they can be successful and sustainable.

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