Since 2015, when the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations member states, many businesses have pledged to play their part in supporting the ambition of creating a fair and sustainable world by 2030. However, new data released this week from 1,700 companies working towards the SDGs suggests we are failing to make significant changes, with most showing little ambition for improvement.
The SDG Insights Report 2021, published recently by B Lab, shows companies tend to concentrate their efforts on their own internal operations, rather than aspects of their business that could create great impact such as, supply chain, business model and taking steps to work collectively with others.
In a preview to the report, Dan Osusky, Head of Standards and Insights at B Lab Global said, “Individual company efforts need to go beyond what are the easiest and simplest places for them to make contributions.”
Most concerning for us though, was that the report found Global Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation is one of the least contributed to Goals by companies worldwide, alongside life below water (Goal 14) and affordable and clean energy (Goal 7).
“Despite all of these different interesting insights and correlations and types of engagement that we see from companies overall, the action and performance of companies is not strategic or bold enough to actually achieve the SDGs.”
Dan Osusky, B Lab Global
Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are basic human rights. They should be a normal part of daily life for everyone, everywhere – but they aren’t. Water impacts so many different aspects of our lives. Not only does every single one of us need it to survive, but water can enable people to lift themselves out of poverty, unlock their potential and transform their lives.
The Report also found some results that indicate a correlation between certain social impact-focused SDGs to the detriment of environmentally focused SDGs. In relation to water, seeing these two areas of impact siloed is a huge concern, as our changing climate is making life harder for the world’s poorest people already struggling to get clean water.
“More frequent and extreme flooding is polluting fragile water sources; longer droughts are drying up springs. People need a reliable supply of water that keeps pumping through flood, drought and natural disaster. Because with clean water, they can stay disease free, go to school, earn a living and be better prepared for whatever the future brings.” – WaterAid
Given the huge impact that water has, it’s vital that Global Goal 6 is prioritised by businesses of all kinds in looking to create a sustainable future for all.
Read the full report here
Belu Impact and the Global Goals
Belu was formed in 2007 with a mission to end global water poverty through funds generated by the sale of an environmentally better bottled water. In 2011, we partnered with leading global water charity, WaterAid, who are experts in providing sustainable access to clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene in 28 countries worldwide. WaterAid receive 100% of our net profit and since our partnership began, we have been able to invest over £5million into their work.
We first began official reporting on our environmental and social impact ten years ago, with our first Report stating, “Our aim is to document and explain our impact beyond the traditional financial P&L and to quantify the positive impact of this triple bottom line business.” In 2020, we made the decision to align our impact to the Global Goals, with specific focus on clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), climate action (Goal 13), and responsible consumption and production (Goal 12).
Take a look at our latest Impact Report
to see how we measure up.