What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations approved a plan for 15 years duration to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the center of “Agenda 2030” are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which identify the goals to be applied to the earth.

The new Goals resulted from a process that is inclusive within Governments involving business, civil society, and citizens from the outset. All members of the UN agree on accomplishing these aspirations which will take an extraordinary effort by all sectors of society and business.

All Companies Can Play a Role

No matter how big or small the company is, all can provide the SDGs. While the scale and scope of the global goals are unique, the important means that companies can contribute and remain unchanged.

Global challenges are ranging from climate, water, and food crises, to poverty, conflict, and inequality which need solutions that the private sector can provide, demonstrating a large and developing market for business innovation. In the hurry to change big business models and systems for the future, reliability, and standards will have an enormous role to play. For companies looking to progress on the agenda, the job starts by combining the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact extensively into approaches and processes and knowing that good practices or innovation will not cause any harm to others in the surrounding.


Each goal matters the most to everybody as they all interconnect producing environmental sustainability, UN puts it as a global blueprint for respectability, peace, and wealth for people and the planet for the future.

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to Achieve the Goal

UNGC Principles

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact

Corporate sustainability starts with any organization’s profit system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, we can meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses represent the same values and principles wherever they have a presence and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By integrating the Principles of the UN into policies and determining the culture of reliability, firms are not only advocating their fundamental duties to individuals and the world but also establishing the time for long-term achievement.


The UN Global Compact is based on 10 principles that should define a company’s value system and approach to doing business.

Human Rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the independence of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;

Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and

Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and

Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.



Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

UN CEO Water Mandate

The CEO Water Mandate was formed in 2007 and is a UN Global Compact initiative that joins company heads on the water, sanitation, and SDGs. Backers of the CEO Water Mandate dedicate to constant development alongside six core elements of stewardship and in doing so can identify and cope with their water risks.

It has six commitment areas:

  • Direct operations (i.e. Measuring and Reducing water use).
  • Supply chain and watershed management.
  • Collective action.
  • Public policy.
  • Community engagement.
  • Transparency.

NTPC joins UN’s CEO Water mandate ( how are companies implementing six commitments)

NTPC has already taken measures around their various locations on effective water management. They are planning to execute the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) for water conservation alongside holding its core business of power generation.

Hindustan Zinc

Protecting groundwater resources is critical to Hindustan Zinc’s commitment to sustainability. The firm recognizes the social, economical, and environmental significance of water and intends to implement best practices for water conservation and utilization. Under this attitude, HZL has adopted the CEO Water Mandate, a unique initiative of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Global Compact. Hindustan Zinc is committed to lowering freshwater consumption through a variety of techniques, including the adoption of less water-intensive equipment, effluent treatment, stormwater management, and others. The firm displays its dedication to water management by conserving water, preserving water quality, and collaborating with communities to maintain a communal potable water resource throughout its life cycle. Hindustan Zinc, as a socially conscious corporation, has worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of tribal and rural people living near its commercial areas. The organization is one of India’s top 15 CSR spenders, reaching out to 500,000 people in 184 main villages in Rajasthan and 5 in Uttarakhand.


Merck’s growing international water approach seeks to accomplish viable water management inside its processes and minimize its impact on local water resources even while continuing to work to lessen the effects of water-related disease through its brands, collaborations, awareness campaigns, and worker volunteer work, which is supported by this pledge. Merck’s water strategy is the result of the company’s wider environmental sustainability objective, which is an important aspect of the organization’s overall responsibility plan. Merck has a worldwide water reduction program that mandates all the company’s key locations to report how much water is brought in, how it is used, how much is reused, and where it is released. Merck recently announced new short-term water objectives of reducing its 2009 water usage by 15% by 2015 and 25% by 2020. The firm has committed to reporting on its progress toward this goal through non-financial reporting and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water assessment on an annual basis.


The UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is an international organization that works to encourage the incorporation of ESG factors in investment decision-making. It was launched in April 2006 and supported by United Nations (UN). Currently, PRI has over 2,700 active financial institutions, as of August 2021. These institutions take part by becoming participants in the six key principles and then recording normal statements on their growth.

The primary idea behind the organization is that environmental and social factors are important elements in investment decision-making and should be considered by responsible investors.

As expressed on the organization’s website, these six principles are as follows:

Principle 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.

Principle 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.

Principle 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.

Principle 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry.

Principle 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles.

Principle 6: We will each report on our activities and progress toward implementing the principles.

OECD Guidelines

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) are suggestions from governments to multinational companies on responsible business conduct. The guidelines set standards for responsible business conduct around various issues such as human rights, labor rights, and the environment. The OECD Guidelines create a unique, government-backed, international criticism system to refer to grievances between companies protected by the OECD Guidelines, and people who feel adversely affected by reckless corporate behavior.

What makes the OECD Guidelines unique?

  • Worldwide and exterritorial scale.
  • Strong appreciation of supply chain responsibility.
  • Wide analysis of issues and business sectors.
  • Support by the government; and
  • Grievance mechanism for solving disputes regarding suspected corporate misconduct.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are the most thorough set of recommendations on responsible business conduct today. The governments sticking to the Guidelines seek to promote and increase the positive impact which will make sustainable development and long-lasting social progress.

The Guidelines are important proposals adopted by governments for multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide deliberate ethics and standards for responsible business conduct in areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.

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