Disclosure Frameworks

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a comprehensive framework that guides countries, organizations, and individuals towards a more equitable and sustainable future. Here we uncover how they relate to carbon accounting and GHG protocol, and the benefits for organizations in adopting the SDGs. 

What are the 17 UN sustainable development goals?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - also known as SDGs -  are a set of 17 interconnected goals adopted by UN member states in 2015. They were created to address pressing global challenges and guide efforts towards sustainable development. They build upon the Millennium Development Goals that were established in 2000 and expired in 2015. 

These goals aim to address various global challenges and promote sustainable development worldwide. Here are the 17 SDGs:

  • SDG goal 1: No poverty -  To end poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
  • SDG goal 2: Zero hunger - To end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • SDG goal 3: Good health and well-being - To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • SDG goal 4: Quality education - To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • SDG goal 5: Gender equality - To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • SDG goal 6: Clean water and sanitation - To ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  • SDG goal 7: Affordable and clean energy - To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
  • SDG goal 8: Decent work and economic growth - To promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  • SDG goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure - To build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  • SDG goal 10: Reduced inequalities - To reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • SDG goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities -  To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  • SDG goal 12: Responsible consumption and production - To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • SDG goal 13: Climate action - To take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • SDG goal 14: Life below water - To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • SDG goal 15: Life on land - To protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
  • SDG goal 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions - To promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • SDG goal 17: Partnerships for the goals - To strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Why were the 17 goals created?

The SDGs were established to serve as a strategic blueprint for sustainable development, offering guidance to countries and stakeholders in their pursuit of a more inclusive, prosperous, and environmentally conscious future. These goals provide a comprehensive framework that facilitates:

Proactive measures

Refer to proactive actions and initiatives taken by governments, organizations, and individuals to advance sustainable development and work towards achieving the SDGs. These measures involve proactive planning, implementation, and monitoring of activities that directly contribute to the attainment of the goals - for example, the integration of SDGs into core business strategies such as: 

  • Renewable Energy Transition (SDG goals 7 & 13)
  • Scaling up sustainable solutions (SDG 17)
  • Proactive measures to combat deforestation and land degradation (SDG 14 and SDG 15)

Resource mobilization

Resource mobilization is the process of generating and allocating the necessary financial, technological, human, and institutional resources to support the implementation and achievement of the SDGs. Some of the key areas of resource mobilization can include: 

  • Funding Mechanisms - Inclusive of things such as national budgets, international aid, philanthropic contributions, impact investments, public-private partnerships, and innovative financing mechanisms such as green bonds and social impact bonds.
  • Official Development Assistance (ODA) - Resource mobilization efforts include encouraging and facilitating increased levels of ODA from developed countries to support sustainable development projects in developing countries.
  • Private Sector Engagement -  This involves attracting private investments, promoting responsible business practices, and encouraging corporate social responsibility initiatives aligned with the SDGs. 
  • Capacity Building - Encompasses investing in human and institutional capacity building to effectively implement and manage SDG-related projects. This includes training programs, knowledge sharing platforms, and strengthening institutions to ensure efficient resource allocation and utilization.

By prioritizing resource mobilization aligned with the SDGs, you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainable development while unlocking opportunities for innovation, growth, and long-term value creation. 

Target setting

Target setting is a critical aspect of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is central to the reasons behind their creation. The SDGs were established to provide a framework for global action and guide countries and stakeholders towards a more sustainable future. 

Setting specific targets within each goal allows for a clear focus and direction in addressing the complex challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, and other global issues. These targets provide measurable objectives that help track progress, ensure accountability, and facilitate effective resource allocation. 

By setting ambitious and time-bound targets, the SDGs encourage governments, organizations, and individuals to take proactive steps and prioritize sustainable development in their policies, practices, and investments.

Progress assessment

The SDGs were established to provide a global framework for sustainable development and address pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges - and with that, progression in relation to the 17 UN SDGs are more measurable. Here are some key points highlighting the importance of progress assessment:

Monitoring and Accountability -  By regularly assessing progress, governments, organizations, and other stakeholders can identify areas of success, challenges, and gaps, promoting accountability and informed decision-making.

Evidence-based Decision-Making - Progress assessment provides data and evidence that inform policy development and decision-making processes. It helps policymakers understand the impact of interventions, identify effective strategies, and adjust policies and programs to align with the SDGs. 

Identifying Priorities and Gaps - By analyzing data on SDG indicators, governments and organizations can identify which goals and targets are on track, where progress is lacking, and where additional efforts are needed. 

Who do the SDGs apply to?

The SDGs apply to all countries, recognizing that sustainable development is a shared responsibility. They encourage both developed and developing countries to take actions to achieve the goals, while considering their specific circumstances and capacities.

Why is there an increasing demand for transparency and accountability in corporate sustainability disclosures?

The SDGs have gained global recognition, and businesses are expected to contribute to their achievement. Transparent sustainability disclosures enable companies to showcase their alignment with the SDGs and demonstrate their progress in addressing global sustainability challenges. 

With that comes an increasing demand for transparency and accountability in corporate sustainability disclosures due to several factors:

Investor Confidenc

Investors are recognizing the importance of ESG factors in assessing a company's long-term value and risk profile. They are increasingly considering sustainability performance as part of their investment decision-making process. Transparent sustainability disclosures enable investors to evaluate a company's sustainability practices and make informed investment choices, leading to increased investor confidence.

Supply Chain Management

Companies are facing pressure from their supply chain partners to demonstrate sustainable practices. Suppliers and customers often require transparency and accountability regarding environmental and social performance as part of their business relationships. Robust sustainability disclosures help companies meet these demands and establish stronger partnerships throughout their supply chain.

Stakeholder Expectations

Stakeholders, including consumers, investors, employees, and communities, are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impacts of businesses. Transparency and accountability in sustainability disclosures allow stakeholders to make informed decisions and hold companies accountable for their actions.

Brand perception

Corporate sustainability performance has a direct impact on a company's reputation and brand image. Transparent sustainability disclosures demonstrate a company's commitment to responsible practices and help maintain a positive brand image. 

Increasing regulation

Governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly mandating sustainability reporting and disclosure requirements across the globe. As a result, many countries have introduced regulations that require companies to disclose their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. 

Overall, the increasing demand for transparency and accountability in corporate sustainability disclosures stems from the need to address stakeholder expectations, protect reputation, comply with regulations, attract investment, manage supply chain relationships, and contribute to global sustainability efforts. 

Standardized reporting frameworks that incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are crucial for measuring progress and facilitating comparability across different entities, sectors, and regions. 

Minimum can help organizations to understand their existing carbon output, and create plans to mitigate climate related risks in the future.  Our Emissions Data Platform seamlessly collects and processes emissions data from every corner of your organization and supply chain - no matter the format. Making it the ideal platform for emissions audits and all-round business intelligence. 

Learn more about how Minimum's Emission Data Platform can help to power you all the way to Net Zero today.  

FAQs about the UN SDGs

Is there an intersection between GHG and some aspects of the UN SDGs?

There is a significant intersection between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and several aspects of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GHG emissions are major contributors to climate change, a global challenge addressed under SDG goal 13 for Climate Action. They also crossover with other SDGs, such as:

  • SDG goal 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy: GHG emissions are closely linked to the production and consumption of fossil fuels. 
  • SDG goal 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Reducing GHG emissions requires innovation and sustainable practices across industries.
  • SDG goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities: Urban areas are significant contributors to GHG emissions. SDG 11 focuses on making cities inclusive and sustainable. 
  • SDG goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production: High levels of GHG emissions are associated with unsustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG 12 promotes sustainable consumption and production by reducing waste generation.
  • SDG goal 15 -  Life on Land: Land-use changes, deforestation, and agricultural practices contribute to GHG emissions. SDG 15 focuses on protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing terrestrial ecosystems.

When were the SDGs adopted?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted on September 25, 2015, during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. The goals were agreed upon by all 193 UN member states and came into effect on January 1, 2016, succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

How do the SDGs differ from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

The SDGs represent an evolution from the MDGs by addressing a broader range of issues, incorporating sustainability principles, embracing universality, and promoting a more inclusive and integrated approach to sustainable development. The SDGs reflect a comprehensive agenda that aims to transform societies and economies towards a more sustainable and equitable future by 2030.