In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda called “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The goal was to define the future we want and it developed to continue where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) left off after they expired in 2015. The new plan for sustainable development outlined 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) or “global goals.” One of the key differences between the MDGs and SDGs, is that the SDGs apply not only to the developing world, but also to the developed world. Therefore, the entire world needs to be working towards sustainability together.
The United Nations Global Compact is world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles. CEOs around the world have signed onto the Global Compact to express their commitment to achieving the global goals. By engaging local CEOs, the Global Compact aims to “make global goals, local business.” Capgemini supported this initiative by becoming one of the over 12,000 signatories in over 160 countries around the world committed to helping achieve the global goals by 2030.
By signing onto the Global Compact, Capgemini has committed to help achieve the 17 sustainable development goals. These goals were defined through an inclusive process that included governments, businesses, civil society, and citizens through the entire process. They set out to identify the most pressing sustainability issues and define the world we truly want. Their conclusion was that everyone agreed on what needed to be achieved and felt it was necessary for everyone to be working toward these goals, especially businesses.
The global goals include: no poverty, no hunger, good health for all people, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions, and the final goal of partnership for the goals. Each goal has a specific set of targets aligned to it that go into detail about how the goal is defined and will be measured.
Capgemini is doing several things to help achieve these goals. Many of the goals are specific to environmental sustainability, such as climate change, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production. Capgemini takes this very seriously and has achieved ISO 14001 certification. ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized certification for environmental management. We also currently have a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% per full time employee by 2020. As of December 31, 2017, we have achieved a 16.7% reduction per FTE. We also recently launched the Positive Planet campaign. This campaign was created to help us reach these environmental sustainability targets by decreasing emissions, investing in sustainable building technologies, and reducing waste.
Another way we are working toward achieving the global goals is through our volunteer efforts. We support 17 charities in North America and each of them have missions that help us achieve the global goals. An example of this is shown through our partnership with Feeding America and Food Banks of Canada. These organizations are networks of food banks across the US and Canada that work to decrease food insecurity and tie to the global goal of No Hunger. In alignment with Capgemini’s strategy to promote digital inclusion globally, our employees volunteer with Girls Who Code, Junior Achievement, and Year Up. Each of these organizations promotes the Gender Education and Quality Education global goals through their work with youth in low in communities.
Finally, one of the most important global goals to Capgemini is global goal #17 – Partnership for the Goals. We firmly believe that we are able to make a greater impact in our communities when we collaborate with our clients and partners to work toward a shared vision. If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can partner and work toward the global goals, I invite you to join us in partnership with the National Diversity Council for the upcoming Corporate Responsibility Summit on May 17. Thorin Schriber from the United Nations Global Compact will be presenting updates on the progress made toward the global goals and how to engage your organization.
More details about the Summit can be found here.
As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We don’t have a plan B because there is no Planet B.” We will only achieve the sustainable future we all desire if we all work together to create it.
Lauren Sanne is the Digital Inclusion Manager for Capgemini North America.