SDGs, Sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 4 Quality Education


SDG 4 Quality Education
SWR supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG 4 Quality Education is the fourth in my 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 4:  Quality Education

  • 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 SDG 4 Quality Education in its 2015 Sustainability Report by describing how 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.