You may have heard or seen the phrase, “#Life Goals” splashed across social media recently. A fabulous, minimalist mansion with pool overlooking Californian coastline. A model-esque couple camping in scenic countryside with absolutely no sign of rain, cows, or cow dung. A woman doing yoga and drinking a fruit smoothie and posting about it on social media, at the same time. The posts captioned “Life Goals” (always accompanied with the heart eyes emoji), as inspirational as they can be: fail to include a bigger, and more pressing picture.
I would like to highlight a new set of ‘life goals’ that should be taking precedence and getting more attention on social media. With our climate situation growing ever scarier, and extreme poverty rates and inequality continuing to persist across the world, it’s time to discuss the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If there ever were a set of goals aimed at creating a good life for all, and that work at “transforming our future”, these are it. Having been mentioned in a blog post on Ruby Moon last year, let’s return to this important step one year on and see how things have changed.
In September 2015, the UN introduced a set of 17 goals for countries to adopt, all aimed at driving towards a more sustainable future. These goals include; No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Gender Equality. Doubtless, some are slightly more ambitious than others, yet the provision of a solid set of targets for countries and businesses to follow is a step in the right direction.
Prior to their release, it should be mentioned many of these goals were already at the core of Ruby Moon’s values. We can proudly say that we officially align with 6 of the targets, which are listed on our products tags. Needless to say, we aim to uphold all of these tenets, with sustainability at the very heart of the business.
Our sustainable six are:
No Poverty, 2. Gender Equality, 3. Decent work and economic growth, 4. Responsible consumption and production, 5. Climate action, 6. Life below water
It’s been 2 years since the goals were put into place- how effective have they been?
Surveys taken in 2016 showed that businesses were being slow to take on the goals effectively. There is still a disparity between those businesses who have sustainability at the helm of their business plan, and those who still see it as an inconsequential ‘add on’. In fact, fewer than half of global businesses plan to even engage with the goals (Ethical Corporation’s State of Responsibility Report 2016), particularly in the US.
An article in The Guardian revealed that subsequently there appears to be an increasing trust issue between consumers (interestingly, especially with ‘millenials’) and businesses; with 81% of millennials believing it is the task of the business to achieve these SDG’s, yet they fail to.
There still appears to be an imbalance between attitude and actual action. What has to be considered however, is the very breadth of the goals and the difference in urgent need for them depending on the country.
For example, it was revealed that some goals have been more successful than others. Climate action was paid the most attention by businesses (63%), yet the broader and as mentioned, slightly more ambitious goals such as zero hunger and zero poverty, were less supported (20% and 22% respectively). This may have something to do with the priority the goals have, based on the individual countries need for them. In developed countries, such primary issues such as hunger and extensive poverty may be less of a pressing issue than in developing countries; instead more focus might be placed on more post-consumerist issues such as climate change.
This considered, the SDG’s are still getting out there, with certain companies such as Siemens, Marks&Spencer, Danone and and UniLever being praised for their action on specific SDG’s- their very creation serving as a universal acknowledgement for a need for them. They do say admitting there is a problem is the first step in fixing the problem.
So how can you make these your new ‘Life Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals website offers ‘The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World’. You don’t have to be part of a business to help save our future, you can simply do it from your couch! Tips and tricks like turning off lights, using refillable water bottles and buying clothes sustainably are all easy and accessible ways that you can help.
These Sustainable Development Goals should be everyone’s ‘life goals’.