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United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 08
SDGs, Sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 08
SWR supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030 and seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. The SDGs call for worldwide action among governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, within the boundaries of the planet.”

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries
  • Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
  • Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
  • By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
  • Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
  • By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all
  • Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries
  • By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization

Companies that have reported on SDG Goal 8 include Praxair and Novartis.

Praxair, an American global industrial gases company, has established Sustainable Development Priorities in an effort to contribute to achieving the SDGs in numerous places along its value chain. This involves increasing its positive impacts and reducing its negative impacts. Examples of SDG 8 that are featured among its targets for the period between 2016-2020 include spending with suppliers, contributing community service projects, and improving employee engagement. These targets can be found in its 2016 Sustainable Value Report.

 

Novartis, a global healthcare company based in Basel, Switzerland, provides in its Corporate Responsibility Performance Report 2016 the alignment of its GRI disclosures and SDG 8 in its GRI Content Index. Here are examples of information depicted in the index and its specific disclosures.

Stay tuned for SDG 9!

 

Metropolis
Cities, Cities and sustainability reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Integrated Reporting, Integrated Reporting, Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting

GRI Standards for Cities

Metropolis
Graphic Design by Michael White

City sustainability reporting would be improved if cities used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards.

GRI Logo, 2015

The GRI framework is used by 74% of the 250 largest corporations. So what does this have to do with cities? As the most widely used framework, it is known by a variety of investors, governments, and NGOs. Many of the same investors, governments, and NGOs are scrutinizing city reports. If the city reports were prepared with a widely used standard, the reports would likely be better understood and more usable for decision making.

Cities have economic, environmental, and social impacts that should be measured in a systematic approach in order to be managed. The GRI Standards provide such an approach and encompass the triple-bottom-line by focusing on an organization’s economic, environmental, and social dimensions. All three are necessary to measure a city’s progress toward sustainable development. The GRI Standards state that organizations need to report only what is important to that city and to be transparent about its determination process.

What are some of the benefits? They are adaptable because they can be applied to any organization of any size and in any location. Cities can compare their progress from period to period. Does using the GRI framework allow for direct comparisons across cities? No two cities are directly comparable but by using the same standards sharing lessons learned would be easier. Cities can assess their economic, environmental, and social risks in addition to engaging their stakeholders about what impacts are important.

The GRI Standards provide metrics that could be used for input into an integrated report under the International Integrated Reporting Council Integrated Reporting <IR> Framework. The <IR> Framework allows organizations to demonstrate how they create value in the short, medium, and long terms. This is especially relevant for cities as they plan for the long  term. For example, if a city invests in electric buses powered with cheaper renewable energy, this investment creates value for the city in many ways. The city’s assets have increased because it purchased the buses. It now has a fleet of electric buses. Value is created each year because fuel and maintenance costs are reduced. The reduction in carbon emissions improves air quality, which results in the improved health of citizens. As a result, health care costs are reduced.

Health care cost reductions can be quantified and reported by a city. A 2014 study by a team of scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), RAND Corp., and the University of Washington, reported that costs saved from reduced health impacts of GHG reduction strategies in the U.S. are estimated to be between $6 and $14 billion annually in 2020. This means the resulting GHG reductions amount to health costs benefits of between $40 and $93 per metric ton of carbon dioxide eliminated.

Take a look at cities that have adopted the GRI framework. The list includes Chicago, Atlanta, Melbourne, Dublin, and Warsaw.

 

Chicago - River Walk and State Street bridge
Cities, Cities and sustainability reporting, ISO 37120, Sustainability Reporting

ISO 37120 – Cities’ Sustainability Reporting Option

Chicago - River Walk and State Street bridge
Photo by Michael J. White

There are numerous ways that cities can monitor their sustainability progress. One example is ISO 37120-2014 Sustainable development of communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life. As the first ISO standard for city indicators, it covers the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental, and social. The standard provides 100 indicators that include 17 areas, which are economy, education, energy, environment, finance, fire and emergency, governance, health, recreation, safety, shelter, solid waste, telecommunications, transportation, urban planning, wastewater, and water and sanitation. Cities of any size or location can choose which indicators to report.

What is in it for cities?

By using this set of standardized metrics, cities will see numerous benefits. Benchmarking performance and setting targets are a fundamental place to start. If you want to lower greenhouse gas emissions, you need to know what your emissions are. In addition, better management of city resources can be achieved with sustainability metrics. For example, keeping track of wastewater management initiatives can enable cities to manage more efficiently and effectively both financial and environmental resources. Urban planning can be facilitated by use of these indicators. These metrics can provide information about transportation, recreation, safety, and health to inform a city’s decisions about housing policies. In addition, comparisons with other reporting cities are possible on the World Council on City Data (WCCD) website.

An added benefit is the ability to obtain WCCD Certification. Certification levels depend on the number of indicators reported.

If you are involved with a city, this is worth looking into.

As a member of the Bloomington Commission on Sustainability, I will be working on applying this standard to the City of Bloomington, Indiana in the next several months. Stay tuned as I report about the process.

Sustainability

Indiana Cities Providing Climate Leadership

Climate Leadership Summit 2
Earth Charter Indiana Climate Leadership Summit 2

Climate Leadership in Indiana

On September 13, 2017, Earth Charter Indiana hosted its 2nd Annual Climate Leadership Summit at Garfield Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. The park is Indianapolis’ oldest city park that sits on 122 acres and is part of the Indianapolis Park and Boulevard System on the National Register of Historic Places. What a great setting for the climate summit that convened “…city leaders to discuss green jobs, renewable energy, public health, and youth engagement among many other important topics.” In addition, it celebrated “… the progress Indiana communities have already achieved…” by providing cities a venue to share best practices.

 

Participants at Summit

I attended and was impressed with the entire program! Several Indiana mayors, which included the mayors of Indianapolis, Bloomington, Kokomo, Logansport, Ft. Wayne, and North Vernon spoke about how they are leading their communities on a variety of sustainability initiatives that support municipal solar programs, green jobs, and public health. People from 19 Indiana cities attended to learn from others and share success stories. Indiana youth who are involved in climate related projects from across Indiana helped to host the event. The intergenerational participation was inspiring for all involved.

 

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

Take a look at all the great things that Earth Charter Indiana does!

I hope to attend Climate Leadership Summit 3!

 

 

 

 

 

 

city
CDP, Cities and sustainability reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting

Cities Need to Engage in Sustainability Reporting

city
Photo and Design by Michael White

Cities are getting a lot of attention for taking action on climate change. This action is born out of necessity. Cities have over 50 percent of the planet’s population. It is not surprising that they create 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2050, cities are estimated to have 70 percent of the planet’s population. With this expectation, cities are compelled to respond to increases in waste, effluents, water demand, traffic congestion, and air pollution, just to name a few challenges. One of the ways they are responding is by sharing lessons learned with other cities. Many are joining networks such as C40, ICLEI, and ANSI Network on Smart and Sustainable Cities.

Cities are taking the current and coming challenges seriously. Many cities are preparing sustainability plans, which state goals and targets for carbon emissions, economic initiatives, and waste management. Over time, the plans are assessed using periodic progress reports comparing actual results to targets. In most instances, cities use whatever reporting format they want. These reports are great for presenting what is working and what is not. But is a non-standardized reporting approach optimal for better management, transparency, and communication?

There are several sustainability reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities – Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life, and CDP Cities, that cities can use to help them manage their sustainability goals and initiatives. Cities do not need to reinvent the wheel!

In a series of future posts, I will talk about these frameworks and why cities should use them.

Stay tuned!!