Sustainable Development Goals in the Developed World

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 include clean water and sanitation, an end to poverty and hunger, gender equality and access to quality education, climate action, and good governance. The SDGs are the product of multilateral participatory process and are universal. As such, they are as critical for developed nations as well, and businesses and individuals in developed nations have a great capacity to make progress towards these goals. The UN website provides a list of actions citizens in developed nations can take. Although most people will not be able to implement every action, in countries with large populations and significant resource use, adopting even a handful of new practices can have a huge impact globally.

SDG #17 is “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. Businesses have a key role to play in re-centering the well-being and the planet as a focus for action and as an action to ensure long-term success. Businesses can take direct action towards achieving SDGs # 1 & 2 “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” through fair pay and hiring practices. Individuals can support SDG #5 “Gender Equality” by recommending women for jobs, high-profile assignments, promotions, and job placements. These actions also make progress toward SDG #8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” since data show that gender parity in the workplace increases profits (DezsÖ and Ross, 2012 and Herring, 2009). Additional actions can be taken by responsible businesses to increase innovation and reduce negative environmental impacts without reducing profits (Illic, Staake, & Fleisch, 2008 and Lash & Wellington, 2007).

Discussions related to some of these issues issue can be found at our website in articles such as Moral Agency & Purpose Driven Business, Water and Agriculture in Colorado and Watershed Health. The full list of SDGS and additional information about each SDG can be found at: You can learn more about the World Business Council for Sustainable Development at


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