SDGs, Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 15 Life on Land

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15
SWR supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG 15 Life on Land is a continuation of my series on the SDGs.

“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 15 Life on Land includes the following:

  • By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities

The importance of SDG 15 Life on Land for businesses can be seen in a  World Business Council for Sustainable Development video. Companies that rely specifically on products from land have a large stake in protecting land. Unilever, Ericsson, and SAB Miller are three companies that reference SDG 15 as being important to their businesses.

Unilever supports SDG 15 Life on Land because many of it products depend on forests and agriculture. Unilever‘s video explains the importance of land preservation to its business.


Ericsson has a direct connection to the land with its robots that detect parasites.

In an effort to protect life on land, SABMiller is working with its sugarcane farming operations in Honduras to modify traditional procedures for washing the crop, to decrease pesticide use by 27%, and to reduce the burning of post harvest vegetation.


SWR supports SDG 15 Life on Land. All SWR blog posts are created using solar power and are hosted by renewable energy sources!

SDGs, Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12
SWR supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production is a continuation of my series on the SDGs.

You can watch a short video on SDG 12.

“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 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities

UPS, Dupont, and Ericsson report on SDG 12  Responsible Consumption and Production in their sustainability reports.

UPS addresses SDG 12 with its policies that require customers to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding packages for shipment with UPS.

UPS – SDG – 12. UPS requires that package contents comply with all applicable regulations.

Dupont supports SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production by developing enzymes that increase the shelf life of food and providing education that demonstrates the reuse of packaging into useful objects.

Dupont’s Virtuous Cycle Project

Ericsson takes back products in an effort to process e-waste in an environmentally responsible manner.


SDG 13 will be discussed in my next blog post.

I am engaging in Responsible Consumption and Production, too.  All SWR blog posts are created using solar power and are hosted by renewable energy sources!


SDGs, Sustainability Reporting, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11
SWR supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities is a continuation of my series on the SDGs.

“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.”

Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

  • By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials


Companies that include SDG 11 in their sustainability reports are Novartis, Ikea, and Ericsson.

Based in Switzerland Novartis is a global healthcare company with approximately 120,000 employees. Novartis aligns its disclosure SDG 11 with the Global Reporting Initiative G4 indicator EC7 Development and impact of infrastructure investments and services supported. Their involvement with SDG 11 includes contributing to the advancement of local healthcare infrastructure in emerging countries.



Ikea, a multinational company headquartered in the Netherlands, designs and sells furniture in over 400 retail stores across 49 countries. Its alignment with SDG 11 is represented by its research on future homes and communities to enable its customers and co-workers to live a more sustainable life.


Ericsson is a Swedish multinational company specializing in networking and telecommunications that has approximately 110,000 employees across 180 countries. The company has reported its alignment with SDG 11 by the connection of city buses to a mobile broadband network.

Stay tuned for SDG 12!

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.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Risk Management, Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 1 End Poverty – Businesses can get involved!


United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 01
SWR supports the UN 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.