If we go by the geological time-lapse, way back there was a time when all the continents & sub-continents existed as a single landmass called Pangea, but due to various geological events, it was split into chunks, which were never united again as they drifted apart to form various countries as we see today.
But again, after more than 300 million years later, around 193 countries (or member states of UN) came together to duplicate the essence of being one as Pangea, of being together, to put efforts together in their own capacity to achieve the goal of sustainable development for all. They came together to transform the world for better and to act upon the issues like poverty, inequality, poor health & sanitation, etc. which are thriving in our societies since time immemorial or the grim effects of climate change which is heading world to devastation. On September 25, 2015, all the world leaders have decided to address the hue and cries created by these internalities and adopted 17 goals & respective 169 Targets of UN SDGs or Agenda 2030. These goals & targets are formulated in continuation of MDGs and they have given a roadmap to the countries/nations highlighting focus areas and approaches to be taken so that these can be included in their respective policies to achieve the ultimate goal of Sustainable Development.
India, being a signatory to UN resolution, has adopted SDGs as well; NITI Aayog has been asked to be the torchbearer by looking after the Implementation of UN SDG whereas MOSPI has been asked to develop National Indicator Framework for measuring the progress of SDGs and associated targets.
But the question arises whether it is only the task of government & its respective statutory bodies to align and work towards SDGs or Business/Industry/Corporates have a crucial role to play? Whether there are any existing mandates or obligation which ask business/Industry/corporates to implement SDGs as well? This question can be answered only when one can delve a little deeper into UN SDGs goals and their respective targets and how these SDGs are already covered as a mandate for business/corporates/industry under various thematic areas of Schedule VII of Companies Act as well as in other National Imperatives & initiatives like National Solar Mission, National Wind Mission, Jal Sakti Mission, Swacch Bharat Mission, Ujjwala scheme, encouraging concept of Industry 4.0 (i.e. adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine-to-machine communications, robotics and related technologies), etc.
A German poet once said “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” And it is high time that we act more strategically and rigorously together for our country, for our world, to achieve the wider goal of Sustainable Development which encompasses development on all the three fronts i.e. economic, environment and social, which is sustainable and pre-requisite for all.
Are you interested to know how to align your business activities and strategize CSR and sustainability projects efficiently to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
Come and explore our newly launched PGC online program on “Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility, and Sustainable Development”. For more details, please visit https://bit.ly/2KiV06H
By Shilpi Biswas
Academic Associate, Centre of Excellence for Sustainability, Growth and Development, IMT Nagpur