Sustainable development is a broad topic, covering everything from human rights to climate change. How to decide what to focus on?
We at Fiskars Group have used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a basis for our sustainability approach and target setting. We have identified three SDGs as most relevant for us: SDG 12 Responsible consumption and products, SDG 13 Climate action, and SDG 10 Reduced inequalities. Identifying the most relevant SDGs has helped us find areas to focus on. If your company is still trying to decipher the sustainability jungle and where to place focus, here are three concrete steps that might be helpful.
1. Focus on prioritization
There are 17 SDGs, and while they are all important, best results are achieved when the most relevant ones are picked for each company. Here’s how to get started.
- Choose max. 5 SDGs
In this case, less is more. The better you place focus, the more impact you are likely to achieve.
- Use the right tools
Utilise external tools available to help with prioritization (e.g. the SDG Compass). We initiated work around the SDGs as a part of our materiality assessment. This is a great place to start as you are already in the process of identifying and assessing sustainability issues affecting your business and stakeholders.
- Don’t forget to review and update
As we know, the world around us is constantly changing and businesses need to change along with it. Make sure to also review prioritized SDGs as focus requirements may shift along the way. Frequent materiality assessments are a good way to also review SDGs.
2. Set ambitious goals
After prioritizing SDGs, it’s time to set goals to take action. Be ambitious with your goal setting! This is a great way to advance sustainability topics in a business-oriented way and support business development.
Linked to SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production, we have for example set an ambitious target of having a majority of our net sales coming from circular products and services by 2030. We want to provide high quality, durable and circular options for consumers. We still have a while to go before reaching our target, but setting it has already helped us accelerate work and innovation processes towards circularity.
- As with any goal setting, make sure to first analyse and find out your baseline, and where your negative and positive impacts lie
- Involve different parts of the organization to get diverse perspectives
- Benchmark your peers: what kind of goals have your industry peers and leaders set?
3. Engage employees and drive change
Make sure everyone at your company knows what to focus on and why. Keep your goals visible and integrate them in a way that helps employees identify with them and know what role they play in reaching those goals.
Here the importance of business relevant goals becomes evident. If goals are not in line with business ambitions and are rather something extra, it will be more difficult to engage employees and drive change. One way to help engage and make goals more tangible for employees is to provide them with the freedom to set sub-targets relevant to their roles, in order to achieve a higher-level goal.
You can find more information about our sustainability approach at Fiskars Group here.