Unless you have been marooned on a remote Scottish island without Wifi you will not doubt have noticed that climate change and its impacts are in the news. Whether it is pink boats in Oxford Circus, UN Reports on bio diversity and species loss, or the more sober suited Governor of the Bank of England, the negative impact we are having on our planet is on everyone’s lips. Just a few weeks a go
Mark Carney, called on the city and financial institutions, and in turn the Government, to wake up and see the how the “enormous human and financial costs of climate change are having a devastating effect on our collective wellbeing”. He and his colleagues at Banque de France were speaking on behalf of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) – 34 central banks, representing five continents, half of global greenhouse gas emissions and the supervision of two-thirds of the global systemically important banks and insurers. The combined weight of these financial institutions represent large numbers indeed but it can be hard to see how we can affect them.
The SDGs, The Sustainable Development Goals or the Global Goals as they are more commonly known are universal big numbers that affect us all. 17 Goals, comprising 169 targets, to be achieved in the 15 years up to 2030 and signed up to by 193 countries. These UN goals offer a wealth creating opportunity which has been estimated as $13trillion potentially creating 980 million jobs a year across the world.
The goals are successors to the UN Millennium Goals designed to set us on a course towards ending poverty and inequality, improving health and wellbeing, ending the devastating decline of biodiversity and ecosystems, and reducing the impacts of climate change. They offer us a route to a better, more sustainable and just future. The goals range from Ending Hunger through to Peace and Justice, from Climate Change, Life below Water and Life on Land to Gender Equality.
Our progress in the UK has been patchy with some disappointing stats just released by the UKSSD report Measuring Up – UKSSD is the network of organisations and partners from across public private and third sectors committed to ensuring the goals are delivered. UKSSD monitored progress and found that:
Out of 143 targets we considered relevant to the domestic delivery of the Goals, UKSSD found that the UK is performing well on 24% of them. There are gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 57% of them, and 15% where there is little to no policy in place to address the target, or where performance is poor.
As the UKSSD point out in their report the value of the 17 SDGs and their 169 Targets lies in their connectedness. However, it can be daunting knowing where to start. What can a medium sized law firm in Bristol, or a member of in-house Counsel for that matter, do about a global challenge of this kind? One way in is to join the free workshop on 12th June in Bristol being run by the Legal Sustainability Alliance and offering not just an introduction to the Global Goals, but practical insights into how to defined, map and develop the goals within your organisation. Designed exclusively for the legal sector by UKSSD, the workshop will help firms who have not yet started on the SDGs as well as those who are some way along the journey. For full details on how to book visit www.legalsustainabilityalliance.com or click the link here.