How partnerships can fast-track action against the SDGs

Mondi's group head of sustainable development Gladys Naylor outlines why partnerships are key to fast-tracking progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.

How partnerships can fast-track action against the SDGs

In 2015 the UN Member States set the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of an ambitious 15-year plan to protect the planet and improve the lives of everyone, everywhere. 

It signalled an important step in driving forward a sustainable future. Five years down the road, we need to question whether enough is being done to achieve these goals in the next decade. The global pandemic has brought to the forefront just how closely the SDGs are interlinked and the need to achieve them all.

As individuals, governments and businesses we have made progress, but to address the scale of the challenges we face we need to ask if more meaningful action is needed.

Businesses need to continue to put sustainability at the centre of their business strategy, showing their commitment to achieving the UN SDGs by setting ambitious targets, and we need innovation and collaboration to fast-track what is possible.

A growing number of businesses are adopting targets aligned with the SDGs which, as highlighted by the findings of the recently published 2020 Leaders Survey from GlobeScan and SustainAbility, is a crucial endeavour for all businesses aiming to make real and lasting change.

At Mondi, sustainability is intrinsic to how we do business and our Growing Responsibly model is the framework through which we respond to sustainability challenges and opportunities, and address societal issues, including contributing to the UN SDGs. It is integral to our future success and ability to drive value accretive growth, sustainably.

This past year we reviewed our contribution to the SDGs and identified those where we have the greatest potential for positive (or negative) impacts. This has enabled us to maximise opportunities and mitigate our impacts more effectively. An SDG Index allows us to map the SDGs and their targets against our progress, enhancing our disclosure and accountability.

Still, while targets and reporting play an important role, I’m a firm believer that innovation and partnership are the real tickets to accelerating change at scale.

Our work on the Forest Sector SDG Roadmap with the Forest Solutions Group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development last year is a great example of the success innovation and partnership can generate, as is One Young World’s Lead 2030 initiative. This was launched to find, fund and scale the impact of youth-led solutions to each of the SDGs.

We’ve supported the initiative from the start, specifically looking at innovations that address SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, with the aim of turning waste into raw materials of inherent value.

This year, our winner was start-up Genecis Bioindustries which makes compostable plastic from food waste. In 2019, we supported Kenyan entrepreneur Hope Mwanake and her business EcoBlocks & Tiles, which turns plastic waste into affordable roof tiles.

Lead 2030 highlights the role that large corporations can play in supporting young innovators with positive contributions to societal challenges that no business or sector can solve on their own.

It is when we put our heads together, involving stakeholders from across the value chain that we develop a holistic, meaningful approach to change, with innovations that will lead us towards a more sustainable future. 

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A Blueprint for Business Leadership

With less than 10 years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), action is still not happening at the speed or scale required – despite a groundswell of ambition and action from organisations of all sectors and sizes. This report offers an end-to-end overview of exactly how businesses can advance global progress towards achieving all 17 of the Global Goals.

edie’s new exclusive report asks: How can we bridge the gap between SDG-related ambition and action? What can sustainability and energy professionals do to drive engagement with the SDGs? How can organisations deliver tangible and measurable contributions to the Global Goals?

Specifically, this 21-page report outlines the importance of each specific Goal to sustainable development; illustrates the relevance of the Goals to the business community; and details how organisations within the private sector have taken action against each Goal so far. 

Click here to download the report.

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