Category Archives: Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Sustainability Within Reach Supports the 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.”

Here is SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
  • By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
  • By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
  • By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
  • Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

I have identified two companies that have included SDG 6 in their sustainability reports and how they are addressing it.

Ball Corporation

In its 2016 Sustainability Report, Ball Corporation explains how it is supporting SDG 6 in its operations through its water reclamation process. Because it wanted to reduce water usage in its extrusion process that produces aluminum containers, Ball devised a way to maximize water reclamation.

“Because the impact extrusion process requires significant amounts of water, our engineering teams brainstormed ideas to install a full treatment system to reclaim as much water as possible. The plant partnered with a local company to design an onsite system to recycle the water, eliminating discharge costs and highlighting our commitment to water stewardship in the local community. The collaboration of third-party expertise with our water reclamation experience was successful.”

“Though the plant only began producing cans in the second half of 2015, the project already has achieved significant results, reclaiming 95 percent of the plant’s water with only 5 percent lost through evaporation, during reverse osmosis, and in the filter cake. Like many best practices within our operations, this successful new process has been shared with other Ball engineers.”


Water is the heart of SAB Miller’s products. In its Sustainable Development Report 2016, the company explains its impacts on water in the greater context of the world’s sustainability issues.

“Water scarcity is one of the most significant impacts of climate change and already affects more than 40% of the global population. This is a serious issue that has major implications for a global brewer: put simply, no water, no beer. At the same time, water scarcity is holding back economic and social development for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Tackling this successfully will release untapped prosperity for everyone – from the smallest farmers to global manufacturing businesses and entire national economies. Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. Within this sit targets for reducing water use, improving water quality, and managing water resources in an integrated way that involves local communities, business and civil society.”

SAB Miller set its water reduction targets and reported on them.

“Less is more

The less water we use to run and clean our breweries, the less energy we use for heating, cooling and treating water, and the smaller our impact on local communities. In the prior year, we beat our target to reduce brewery water use by 25% against a 2008 base, achieving an efficiency ratio of 3.3 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of lager produced. We are now on track to meet our revised target of 3.0 hl/hl by 2020, having achieved an average efficiency ratio of 3.2 hl/hl in the year. At 25 of our breweries, average annual water efficiency is already below 3.0 hl/hl. In absolute terms, we used 597 million hl of water to produce our lager (2015: 592 million hl).”

My next post will cover SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy.


SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Sustainability Within Reach LLC supports the 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.”

Here is SDG Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Examples of companies working to achieve gender equality goals include Sodexo, ANZ Bank, and CLP Holdings. 

Sodexo is a French food services and facilities management company with 420,000 employees over 80 countries. In its Fiscal 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report, Sodexo states that

“…the company is fully committed to contributing to the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in September 2015.”

Gender equality is listed as one of its top priorities for which it has received external recognition for its female representation in its governing bodies.

Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) is a major bank in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. In its Corporate Sustainability Report 2016, ANZ set goals for achieving gender equality in its operations from new hires, to board representation, and the supply chain.

ANZ supply chain initiatives

CLP Holdings Limited is a publicly traded company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that provides electricity. This includes power generation, high voltage transmission, local distribution, and gas and electricity retail services in China, India, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan. In its 2016 Sustainability Report, CLP acknowledges the importance of gender diversity from both a social and economic perspective.

“The most significant and common issue we face as a Group, is gender diversity. Demographic trends confirm the business case for this; and as gender equality is embedded in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights and in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the social and economic case for making it a priority is equally strong.

The company also explains the challenges that it is encountering to create gender equality in its operations.

“However, we face some challenges in increasing the proportion of female employees, from the current figure of 23.6%. The nature of our business requires a high percentage of the workforce to have technical and engineering skills. However, there are supply constraints due to the global shortage of females studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at school and university. We also face cultural constraints in places like India, which has a relatively low female workforce participation rate. “

CLP discusses its approach to improve its gender equality.

“Given this context, we have decided to focus our efforts on three priorities to improve our gender diversity. These priorities have been chosen because they reflect our business needs, align with the UN SDGs, and support the social and economic empowerment of women. First, we aim to increase the number of women in leadership positions in CLP. Second, we strive to increase the number of female engineers we employ by supporting initiatives that encourage girls to study engineering in schools and attracting female graduates to join the company. The third priority is to ensure gender pay equity. A range of initiatives were undertaken in 2016.”

The next blog will highlight organizations contributing to achieving SDG 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education


Sustainability Within Reach LLC supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

This post is the fourth in a series about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and how businesses are contributing to meeting these goals.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 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.”

Here is SDG Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education
  • By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
  • By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
  • By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
  • By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
  • By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
  • By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states.

Two companies involved in supporting SDG 4 are IKEA and AkzoNobel.

IKEA explains in its 2016 Sustainability report  both its internal and external initiatives related to SDG 4. The internal initiatives involve encouraging and rewarding employees for their creativity and productivity.

“Every co-worker should be able to develop their potential to its full extent and be rewarded based on their merit and performance. We believe in people, and we want to make sure our co-workers are all given the same opportunity to full their aspirations – whoever they are and whatever their ambitions may be.

In FY16 we trained 150 team facilitators to support teams in realising their full creative and productive potential. They use our new IKEA Team Development Guide and train teams to use the guide in their own daily work. Team development is integrated into the IKEA Leadership Fundamental Programme for new leaders and is used throughout IKEA Group. Our launch of the IKEA Group Talent Approach continued with our first Talent Focus Week in April 2016.

All organisations in IKEA Group held unique and inspirational events and activities to highlight the key message: ‘every person is seen as a talent’. Across the week we emphasized two points: making the most of development talks and plans, and growing and developing in IKEA. This was supported with the launch of our new online tool, IKEA Journeys, which helps co-workers understand how to grow and develop in IKEA. Co-workers can find out more about the different organisations, work areas and roles within IKEA, and the many opportunities are highlighted through inspirational co- worker stories describing their career path and ongoing development. At the end of FY16, IKEA Journeys had received 12,220 visitors.”

IKEA’s external initiatives involve partnerships with NGOs to support educational projects.

“Since 2003, the IKEA Foundation has donated EUR 1 for every soft toy sold during the soft toys for education campaign in IKEA stores in November and December. This longstanding partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF funded educational projects in some of the world’s poorest communities. Thanks to the support of IKEA co-workers and customer, this 13-year campaign has 77 million EUR donated by IKEA Foundation as a result of the soft toys for education campaign 99 Projects supported in 46 countries, which enabled more than 12 million children living in poverty to receive a better education.”

 AkzoNobel discusses in its 2015 Sustainability Report that its community program includes education for its employees as well as in the communities in which it operates.

Community Program

“Our Community Program encourages sites and individuals to take part in projects where our products, and the skills and knowledge of employees, can benefit the wider community on a sustainable basis. In the past ten years, the initiative has been firmly embedded in our worldwide organization. Projects have included employee involvement in the redecoration of schools, community centers, shelters and daycare centers for the homeless. Other projects have focused on vocational training for the reintegration of unemployed youngsters, women and the disabled, as well as enhancing HSE awareness among children and boosting their interest in chemistry and science. All of these community activities are taking place in various parts of the world and contribute to creating more human cities.”

Education Fund

“What would a city be without the people who live there? AkzoNobel is proud to be associated with a variety of organizations and initiatives in ways that truly make a positive difference. These partnerships allow us to bring the AkzoNobel brand to life and create value for our stakeholders. One of our flagship partnerships is with the Plan organization in the Netherlands – a member of the Plan International network – a collaboration which marked its 20th anniversary in 2014. The cooperation was established to help children in developing countries fulfill their potential by improving the quality of their education. It has since evolved to also support the employability of young people via vocational training programs designed to set them on a proper career path. Over the years, tens of thousands of young people have benefited from dozens of projects in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, the Philippines and Vietnam. During 2015, we worked together with Plan Nederland and our Coral decorative paints brand to support a project which involved training deprived young people in Natal, Brazil, to benefit from life skills training and vocational training to become painters.”

The next blog will highlight organizations contributing to achieving SDG 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Stay tuned!

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Sustainability Within Reach LLC supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

This post is the third in a series about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and how businesses are contributing to meeting these 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.”

Here is SDG Goal 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births

3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol

3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

3.a Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate

3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

3.c Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States

3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks

Companies contributing to the achievement of Goal 3 include SABMiller and Abbott.

In SABMiller’s sustainability report 2016 the company acknowledges its significant concern for the harmful use of alcohol and its commitment to work on the problem.

“Harmful drinking is an issue of signicant concern – to governments, society, and SABMiller. It is an issue that we are committed to helping tackle. “

Developing a non-alcoholic beer, Bireli, in the Czech Republic is one way that SABMiller is addressing SDG Goal 3. This beer has proven to be quite popular.

Abbott, a diversified healthcare company, produces nutrition products, medical devices, diagnostic devices, and pharmaceuticals. The company reports in its Global Citizenship Report 2015 on how its work with partners to develop nutrition and maternal health guidelines along with providing education and training healthcare practitioners in support of the SDGs.

Nutrition and Maternal Health Guidelines

“Working with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Abbott supported the development of new nutrition guidelines to improve maternal health, protect mothers and babies and reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases globally. The guidelines address adolescent, pre-conception and maternal nutrition. By improving nutrition in adolescent girls and helping them develop healthy dietary habits, the guidelines can reduce the incidence of nutrient deficiencies, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease for both mom and baby later in life. The guidelines support a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including reducing premature mortality and ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030. “

Educating and Supporting Healthcare Practitioners

“Training and educating local healthcare providers have a key role to play in addressing gaps in healthcare services. We work directly with local governments, providing a wide range of training, conferences and educational programs. We also advance understanding of new and emerging treatments by collecting and sharing the data from patients’ use of our products.

Abbott launched the WINGS (Women in India with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Strategy) project to define a model of care approach for women with GDM to establish guidelines for GDM management in developing countries. We implemented the pilot program in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (the president and director, V. Mohan, MD, is a world-renowned diabetologist working throughout India) and diabetes expert Sonak Pastakia, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, and with financial support from the Abbott Fund. The program was deployed across seven clinics and trained 60 healthcare workers in the new guidelines. Since the roll-out of the WINGS program, we have helped 250 women with GDM to manage their condition, supporting more than 177 healthy deliveries of babies. We have also developed a training manual for healthcare workers and an educational handbook for mothers that can be used across India and in other emerging markets. “

The next blog will highlight organizations contributing to achieving SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Stay tuned!




SDG Goal 1 End Poverty – Businesses can get involved!



Sustainability Within Reach LLC supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

As promised in my last post, this post discusses how businesses can apply Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Here are the targets to achieve the goal.


1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the

1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

1.a Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support
accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

These targets are ambitious, and businesses have an important role to play in achieving them! Many businesses are already doing so, and there are many examples.

So your next questions are why and how would my business get involved?

A quote from Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General (2008-2016), provides a big picture perspective.

…we must invest in people – in education, skills development, health care. This will help equip people for decent jobs and incomes. It will boost purchasing power. The virtuous cycle between human capital, jobs and income is central to building healthy local markets and a healthy world economy. It is good for people and good for business.

Evaluating your entire value chain (i.e., the full lifecycle of your products and services) can help identify areas that can reduce your negative impacts and improve your business simultaneously. Your business decisions about things such as employee wages, working conditions, product pricing, or raw material sources have impacts on people in poverty.

You can measure your direct impacts on the local economy. What proportion of your spending is on local suppliers at significant locations of operations? To illustrate how UPS affects the local economy, here is an excerpt from its 2015 sustainability report.

In 2015, UPS spent approximately US$943 million in procurement with small and diverse businesses in the United States.

A third-party study on the economic impact of our spending with small businesses, as well as minority-, women-, veteran-owned, and other diverse suppliers in 2015, found that UPS contributed more than US$2.3 billion to the U.S. economy (U.S. GDP) and sustained more than 14,200 jobs in the supply chain and local communities. A breakdown of that US$2.3 billion includes US$941 million in direct economic benefit from suppliers’ operations and activities; US$639 million in indirect impact from the economic benefit and employment supported in the suppliers’ respective supply chains from procuring goods and services; and US$743 million in community impact from the wider economic benefits that arise when the suppliers’ employees and those in their supply chains spend their earnings. Overall, for every million dollars that UPS spends with small and diverse suppliers, 15 jobs are created with those companies in their local communities.

If supply chains are a significant part of your business, evaluating them not only on economic criteria but also on social criteria can be an effective risk management tool. Do you have policies to screen for suppliers that adhere to international and your company-specific human rights and labor standards? You can have a positive influence by demanding adherence to these standards. This is a proactive approach that is much less costly than a reactive one.

How you are investing in the economic well being of your employees has a direct economic impact on poverty alleviation. Lower incomes reduce access to adequate housing, quality education, social networks, and social status among others. Evaluating the wages paid along with how they compare to the minimum wages in the local area puts a focus on a company’s economic impact on workers. For example, Abengoa, a Spanish company that applies technological solutions in the energy and environment sectors, disclosed in its 2015 sustainability report the percentage paid to its workers above the local minimum wage.



Another example where companies can assess their impacts on poverty is examining their significant positive and negative indirect economic impacts. In the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards, there are several examples of indirect economic impacts that illustrate this idea.

  • How does your company change the productivity of organizations, sectors, or the whole economy?
  • Is your company involved in economic development in areas of high poverty?
  • Does your company’s economic impact in a particular location improve or deteriorate social or environmental conditions?
  • What is the availability of your products and services for those on low incomes?

What should you do with your answers to these questions and your evaluation of your business? You can incorporate these issues into your business strategy. You can set targets for improvement. You can publish a sustainability report to measure your progress.

Baxter International is an example of a company that has set targets and reported them its sustainability reports. In its 2015 report, Baxter pledged to increase it spending with diverse suppliers by 50%, from 4% of relevant spending in 2015 to 6% in 2020. These published targets are public commitments that reveal the company’s sustainability strategy and implementation plans.

To be a part of the solution to end poverty, your business can be involved; it can measure its impacts, set targets, and report its progress in a sustainability report.

The next blog will examine how your business can help achieve SDG Goal 2 Zero Hunger.