Ways for Business Action on the SDGs and How It benefits Your Company

Ways for Business Action on the SDGs and How It benefits Your Company

TIRANA, January 6

The businesses that commit to contributing to the achievement of the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not only bring about more significant change, but they develop strategies and policies that focus on economic, social, and environmental issues. Eventually, those businesses that align their vision with the SDGs see more benefits compared to companies that stick to traditional business models. A toolkit guide by the Ireland International Chamber of Commerce has been adapted for Albanian businesses by the United Nations ‘office in the country. The guide shares advice on how to get started with the SDGs both for small and large companies.

Among others, it highlights the benefits to the businesses that commit to the SDGs have achieved, namely:

  • Increased trust among their customers
  • Higher profit margins and savings
  • Improved employee retention
  • Expanding their customer base by attracting sustainability-minded customers
  • Improving performance as management and staff work with a greater sense of purpose
  • More new contracts

There are many ways how to contribute to the SDGs across a business. They include health and well-being, equality and diversity, conscious consumption, well-rounded workplaces, implementing innovation, community collaboration, leadership and integrity, and protecting the planet. Each of these categories includes a list of suggestions. Each suggestion is followed by the number of at least one Goal to which they are linked.

 

Health and Well-Being

  • Offer healthy food options in the workplace – fruit boxes from local suppliers. (2, 3, 12)
  • If you offer free lunches, request that they be supplied by local businesses promoting sustainability and using seasonal produce. (2, 3, 11, 12, 13)
  • Ensure you are providing workplace food options that cater to all diets. (2, 3, 10)
  • Set up cooking classes for staff to encourage healthier eating practices and improve overall well-being. (2, 3)
  • Ensure that workplace well-being is a priority – sign up for an employee assistance program. (3, 8)
  • Offer staff gym memberships or access to exercise classes of their choice. (3, 8)
  • Set up social committees to arrange staff activities that create a stronger workplace community, and help to retain staff. (3, 8)
  • Offer to fund, or partially fund, health or dental insurance for your staff. (3, 8)
  • Introduce financial well-being courses for staff and give staff ESG pension and investing options. (3, 8)

 

Equality and Diversity

  • If you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ – Commit to visibly promoting gender equality within the workplace. (5, 8, 10)
  • Request gender representation at business meetings and events. (5, 10)
  • Offer childcare assistance to support working families in your sector. (5, 10)
  • Commit to diversifying your workforce. (5, 10)
  • Update recruitment initiatives to encourage more applications from minorities and under-represented groups. (10)
  • Work with other businesses that support women. (5, 10, 17)
  • Advertise your vacancies with companies that work with under-represented groups, including young people, people with disabilities, or ethnic minorities. (10, 17)
  • Adapt your building/office so that it is wheelchair and mixed-mobility accessible. (10)
  • Campaign to improve how your sector advertises itself to women – ensure that women are visible across external advertising campaigns. (5, 10)
  • Encourage inclusive decision-making across the company. (10, 16)
  • Implement gender balance at management and board-level. (5, 8, 10, 16)
  • Utilize technology to remove any bias towards applicants during recruitment. (5, 8, 9, 10)
  • Introduce longer paid paternity leave or equal parental leave to equalize parents’ opportunity to return to work/share the workload after having a child. (5, 8, 10)

 

Conscious Consumption

  • Ensure that your building has efficient water consumption practices. (6, 12)
  • Switch to green energy suppliers. (7, 12, 13, 15)
  • Switch to electric vehicles (EVs) if you offer company cars. (7, 12, 13)
  • Fund on-site car charging points to encourage staff to switch to EVs. (7, 12, 13)
  • Undergo an energy audit. (7, 12, 13)
  • Switch to more efficient lighting options in your building. (7, 12, 13)
  • Insulate your office building. (7, 12, 13)
  • Undertake energy management training with the SEAI. (7, 12, 13)

 

Well-Rounded Workplaces

  • Re-imagine the ‘40 hour’ week within your workplace. (3, 8)
  • Allow staff to undertake further study by offering flexible hours or funding/partially funding training courses. (4, 8, 10)
  • Pay staff a living wage. (1, 8)
  • Enable your staff to work flexible hours and/or work remotely. (3, 8)
  • Support local co-working spaces by enabling staff to work there or mentor businesses in the hub. (8, 11)
  • Offer training to employees so that they can learn new technologies and systems. (4, 8)
  • Introduce a 4-day week. (3, 8)
  • Adopt a project-based work model to enable flexibility in how your staff work. (8, 9)

 

Implementing Innovation

  • Lend your expertise to start-ups/innovation hubs. (4, 9, 17)
  • Build and trial new business models and technologies within your workplace and report on their success so that others can follow suit. (8, 9, 17)
  • Fund projects within your local schools and communities that educate on the
  • SDG that you are supporting – computer skills, biodiversity, recycling, equality. (4, 9, 11, 17)
  • Move business functions online so that they can be accessed securely, remotely. (8, 9)
  • Make changes across your business that align with the Government’s National Digital Strategy. (8, 9)

 

Community Collaboration

  • Collaborate with Chambers, associations, and local authorities to engage in business-focused projects to become more sustainable in your area. (11, 17)
  • Sign up for community watch programs to make town centers a safer place to work, live and do business. (11, 17)
  • Support the introduction of/increase in public transport services and more infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in your locality. (11, 13)
  • Back local initiatives to ‘embrace the space’ and utilize would-be parking bays as outdoor dining spaces for local cafés and restaurants. (11, 17)
  • Use your platform to support ‘Shop Local’ initiatives. (11, 17)
  • Support and sponsor food festivals or offer your services for local events. (11, 17)
  • Consider moving your business/secondary offices out of cities to support local economies and improve regional development. (9, 11)
  • Encourage employees to get involved with their communities by supporting volunteer work. (8, 11, 17)
  • Introduce apprenticeship and traineeship programs to introduce marginalized groups into your business sector. (4, 8, 10)
  • Mentor in schools/DEIS schools around pathways to employment. (4, 8, 10)
  • Offer paid internships to ensure that this opportunity is accessible to all. (4, 8, 10)

 

Protecting the Planet

  • Encourage recycling and the reduction of waste across the business. (12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Get involved with the circular economy movement and find innovative ways to reuse waste materials from your business. (12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Source suppliers who use – or request that they use – reusable or biodegradable packaging. (12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Remove single-use plastic from the workplace. (12, 13, 14, 15)
  • If using chemicals or harmful substances in your workplace, work with the EPA to find solutions to minimize the negative impact on the environment. (12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Arrange car-pool groups to reduce your staff’s carbon emissions. (12, 13)
  • Ensure staff can access the Government’s bike-to-work scheme. (13)
  • Ensure there are bike racks/bike sheds available on-site. (13)
  • Request the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products within the workplace. (13, 14, 15)
  • Embrace green finance options to further commit to the sustainable agenda. (8, 13)
  • Utilize vacant green spaces to increase biodiversity – plant bee-friendly vegetation or create a community garden for staff. (11, 13, 14, 15)
  • Offer free travel or ‘tax-saver tickets’ to employees to encourage more public transport use. (13)

 

Leadership and Integrity

  • Ensure you have robust protection for whistle-blowers within your business. (16)
  • Implement strict codes of conduct against abuse or exploitation in the workplace. (16)
  • Update your policies to include more sustainable practices across the business. (17)
  • Encourage buy-in from the top down to follow a sustainable agenda. (17)
  • Partner with businesses that are supporting similar SDGs to increase your impact. (17)

Toolkit guide in the Albanian language

Source: chambers.ie

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.