No one should be left behind. This is the underlying message of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations in 2015, in which the aim is to address all forms of social issues and making the solutions accessible to all— especially to the vulnerable and the systematically oppressed.
The 17 SDGs are also commonly known as the Global Goals due to its universality, and because it is only through global cooperation towards the SDGs can we truly fulfill all of them in the year 2030. Each goal is independent and has a specific focus and sub-goals, but all of them are interconnected. We cannot solve one without solving everything else.
Businesses have a significant role to play in fulfilling these goals because they have the resources and the power to direct their efforts towards what they perceive is valuable. This is why we, in Ripple, commit to our advocacies in our chosen communities.
To help achieve sustainable development, we must think globally and act locally, where our influence lies.
One of the SDGs that we are most passionate about is SDG 11— Sustainable Cities and Communities, which is transforming our urban spaces. The majority of the human population lives in cities, and this number is steadily and rapidly growing in developing nations. According to the UN, cities contribute to at least 70% of carbon emissions, even if they occupy only 3% of Earth’s land. In this time of crisis, 90% of COVID-19 cases are also in urbanized areas because of how densely populated they are and how dependent their lives are on work, even if it means risking infection. Economically, they also generate 80% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
What does a sustainable city and community look like?
Making our communities and urban cities sustainable involves creating more needs-based career opportunities for everyone, supporting local businesses, creating more green spaces through urban planning, investing in community-managed renewable energy and proper waste management, and building disaster-resilient systems.
How can companies like Ripple help in achieving it?
Companies have a common but differentiated responsibility. Bigger and more powerful companies have a broader duty to shift to more sustainable practices and contribute to the communities, but that does not mean smaller companies cannot make a significant impact too. Small companies have unique characteristics that giant corporations and governments do not have: they are closer to the people in their cities both in proximity and in social values. The revenue that they generate can directly affect the immediate community they are in. When small companies align their values with that of their employees and the most vulnerable in their community, there is no limit to what they can contribute to local sustainability.
Career opportunities must be created to be more accessible.
More options should be available for employees, such as remote work arrangements so that PWDs and parents can still be productive without compromising their health and home life. Hiring virtual assistants from developing countries can also help their local communities and economies thrive.
Support local businesses, especially those who generate “green jobs.”
Green jobs are those that contribute to natural resources protection and waste management. You can partner with these businesses for various events and projects and learn enterprise and skills development from each other.
Help create more sustainable and accessible spaces.
This can be achieved by supporting local people’s initiative in advocating for urban and transportation planning. Companies can also add to the dialogue with the government regarding walkable cities accessible for everyone of all genders and abilities. This adds to the social, environmental, and economic value of a town.
Invest in projects dedicated to building disaster-resilient systems.
Some examples are locally-managed solar energy microgrids, reforestation, solid waste management, and disaster risk reduction.
Start a culture of sustainable practices in your workplace.
Establish a gender quota during meetings to ensure representation, have a measurable goal of lessening electricity consumption and water use, practice zero-waste, and put more thought into making more sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects that will impact your local community and future generations.