Sustainable Development Goals 101: A Guide To Making The World A Better Place

October 08, 2020

We all want to improve our world, but it can be overwhelming to know where to even start. In such uncertain times, having clear positive steps to take can help us feel empowered in making a difference. To help focus those good intentions,the United Nations created 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, that provide specific parameters for a better world. These goals are intended to serve as a blueprint to help build a brighter future for all of us who share this planet.

This post is the first in our new series on the SDGs, how they steer our work at TTM, how we help our clients achieve them, and how we can all work together toward a better world.

The SDGs cover many sectors for global well being, from hunger to education to gender equality - and each maintains a focus on sustainability. We’ll dive deeper into each goal in our upcoming series, but today, let’s get started with an overview of each one and why they matter.

SDG 1: No Poverty

More than700 million people - 10% of the world’s population - live in extreme poverty. If we want to eradicate that, we need to ensure that global economic growth includeseveryone, with sustainable and steady work available to all.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Over the last few years, the number of people suffering from hunger has begun to increase. It’s believed that around690 million people are living in hunger - and we need to step up our game if we want to change this. Hunger is often caused by man-made issues like climate change and conflict, but if we tap into the capabilities of the world agriculture sector, we have a chance to change the course.

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

As this year has made especially clear, health is a foundational aspect of a secure life. This SDG aims to focus on eradicating more diseases, increasing worldwide life expectancies, and decreasing maternal mortality rates.

SDG 4: Quality Education

Education is key to opening so many doors. But as of 2018,more than 260 million children were not in school, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased that number.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

Gender equality improves so many facets of life and global stability, from a family’s economic success to children’s health.Almost 60% of women work in the informal economy, without the stability provided by more secure jobs. This puts them at a higher risk of falling into poverty. 

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Everyone deserves easy access to clean, safe water and sanitation. Many communities around the world still go without these essentials, andone in three people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water.

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Those of us who have had the privilege of living with electricity our entire lives know the frustration of short-term power outages. Now, imagine the instability, frustration, and lack of access that would be experienced in a community without access to energy. Electricity provides clean and safe cooking capabilities, access to communication with others, and technology that improves job opportunities. Better yet,renewableenergy provides all this while paving a sustainable future for the planet.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Everyone should be able to support themselves through a safe and secure job and work environment. Unfortunately, with economic stagnation sparked by COVID-19, millions of people are going without the work they need to stay economically stable.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

True sustainable development requires changes in infrastructure, and investments in building a stronger economic future. We need great minds to come together to innovate and create sustainable solutions for a healthier climate.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reducing inequality can be achieved with universal policies that take special note of what vulnerable populations need most. When the most marginalized thrive,everyone thrives, and we will all benefit from lifting each other up.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

More than 50% of the global population lives in cities, and the UN expects that to rise to 60% in the next ten years. This creates a need for more sustainable cities that provide access to safe transportation, housing, and energy for all - as well as a decreased urban carbon footprint.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Every year,about one third of all food produced ends up going to waste, and countless other important resources are improperly managed. We can change this with more efficient food transportation, better distribution of energy and resources, and a more thoughtful approach to consumption.

SDG 13: Climate Change

There’s no doubt that climate change impacts the lives of every single person on this planet - and marginalized communities are most vulnerable to the economic impact of changing weather patterns and rising sea levels.2019 was the second warmest year on record, and lowering our global carbon footprint is more vital than ever.

SDG 14: Life Below Water

Our oceans are some of our most precious resources, and their health heavily impacts the sustainability of our planet. This SDG aims to recognize that by reducing water pollution and fostering marine biodiversity.

SDG 15: Life on Land

Just as we count on our oceans, we need our life on land to move toward stronger sustainability as well. Around1 million species are currently threatened with extinction. Protecting our forests, farms, and wildlife is key to building a strong future for the planet.


SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Human rights starts with accountability and effective institutions. In 2018,the number of people fleeing war, persecution, and conflict reached over 70 million - the highest level recorded by the UN in nearly 70 years. We can’t rest until everyone has access to justice, safety, and stability.


SDG 17: Partnerships

Life is better when we work together. With the economy projected to contract due to COVID-19 and an increasing pressure to slow the effects of climate change, partnerships between nations are vital. We move forward stronger when we do so as a global team.

Stay tuned for our ongoing SDG blog post series!

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