The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by United Nation Member States in 2015 as a shared direction for an equitable and sustainable future towards 2030. There are 17 SDGs which set out requirements for action to tackle poverty, inequality, environmental damage and issues of weak governance. 

The SDGs provide a framework for governments, businesses and NGOs alike, and have been integrated into good practice in terms of responsible business, often being cross-referenced in sustainability benchmarks and ESG assessments.  

They have been built through decades of work and are in response to the global macro-trends including population growth, escalating consumption, finite resources, urbanisation and climate change. The SDGs are not only good practice in terms of shaping responsible business and ESG strategy but provide a commercial opportunity, with the insight they give. Ultimately they are a blueprint for what the world needs more of and what the world needs less off. They shine a light on the areas of growth and the areas of decline. 

From a business and investment perspective it makes sense to use this insight and drive the development of goods and services in the areas of growth. In this way businesses and investments can make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development and are undoubtedly more likely to enjoy a win-win return. 

The UN Global Compact UK Pioneers

give examples of what this can mean in practice.