SDGs – What’s Behind the Hype…

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are going to be adopted during the 70th General Assembly this September. We encourage our GSC community to participate in these historical discussions, which touch the essence of global sourcing. We realize, however, that little is known about SDGs within the global sourcing sector. Therefore, in the next weeks, we will brief you on various aspects of the SDGs.

The Global Sourcing Council (GSC), a signatory of The United Nations Global Compact, supports the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The sourcing sector is an important stakeholder in this global development plan, and our goal is to contribute our views, ideas and solutions on how the private sector can play a role in the execution of SDGs. Such an example can be seen through 3S Awards applicants, who demonstrate real and tangible examples of executing SDGs in their operations.

This brief below gives an overview of the SDGs two months before its expected adoption. We welcome your comments and suggestions, which we will share with the community.


The “Final draft of the outcome document for the United Nations Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda” was released this week after negotiations held on June 22-25. The final negotiation session will be held at the end of July, after which the United Nation Member States will adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 2030 agenda for global action.

The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are an extension and redefinition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) implemented in 2000. The MDGs serve as a foundation and learning experience for the creation of SDGs. This time around the United Nations (UN) expanded the scope of its development framework, calling for 17 goals with 156 targets in comparison to the eight MDGs enacted in 2000.

The 17 Post-2015 SDGs are as follows:

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

While many of the goals and action items for 2030 encompass monumental changes, the development of the SDGs is based on the pragmatic need to create a globally accepted and practical definition for sustainable development, especially so progress can be monitored and measured. The 2030 agenda is in essence a commitment to people, the planet, and prosperity – to ensure that human beings can fulfill their potential, that our common home is safeguarded, and that everyone enjoys the fruits of progress. The Post-2015 SDGs are being constructed both under the lens of much progress that has been made over the last few years but also figuring in the current challenges presented for sustainable development. The open working group notes that we live in a world of rising inequalities between and within states, wealth and power inequality, youth unemployment, humanitarian and violent extremism, climate uncertainty, and environmental degradation. This has served as the context and means of situating goals and priorities that are truly global, meant for both developing states and financially advantaged states.

The process of developing the SDGs has also changed to be more inclusive and democratic. The open working group, who is defining and amending the SDGs, consists of the Member States and large stakeholder groups. Stakeholder groups include women, children, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, science and technological community, and farmers. The modality of participation and engagement from these major stakeholders is determined by the Member States, varying according to the topic, but the process is still majorly led by the Member States. However, during the two years of intensive public consultation with global stakeholders, the open working group has also paid particular attention to the voices of the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Post-2015 SDGs can be seen as both practical and aspirational, as they define the image of future development but leave each government to set their own targets and track their success as well. While the SDGs have expanded from the MDGs, the cost and resources of solving these problems has also expanded. How will sustainable development be financed? The UN calls on investors, the private sector, and the public sector to take a role in executing some of these goals, but is it enough? What type of financing will it take to truly contribute to the progress of SDGs?

Jessica Tomaz
Sustainability Initiatives Outreach Coordinator
Global Sourcing Council

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