Renewable energy with solar panels and windmills

Sustainable Development Goals

Average read time: 3 minutes

The SDGs are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a better world.

An action plan for the world

Business must serve society. But today's form of capitalism is leaving too many people behind. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is rising, the planet is under severe strain, and trust in institutions continues to remain low.

Many are arguing that a more inclusive form of capitalism is sorely needed. We agree. We believe that it is not possible to achieve long-term business success in a world which contains poverty, hunger and climate change.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched by the United Nations in 2015, are an excellent vehicle for driving this change. They represent an action plan for the planet and society to thrive by 2030.

How we’re taking action on the SDGs

We have long recognised that the only business model for Unilever is one in which all our stakeholders benefit – and where the planet and society thrive.

We have been working on the SDGs since they were conceived – initially to ensure the voice of business was heard (PDF 1.29MB) Opens in new window in their creation and more recently to highlight the business case Opens in new window for action on the SDGs.

We have also been embedding the SDGs into our work and partnerships, such as with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on TRANSFORM Opens in new window which aims to help millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia gain access to products and services – many of which directly link to the SDGs – that have been shown to improve health, livelihoods, the environment or wellbeing by 2025. We also work with UN Women Opens in new window to advance our efforts on gender equality (SDG5), and UNICEF in areas such as clean water and sanitation (SDG6). We bring this to life through our brands, for example, our UNICEF partnerships with Dove and Domestos Opens in new window.

We're convinced that achieving the SDGs will be good for the global economy, and for business in general. The opportunities that this transformation creates will be enormous – market opportunities of up to US$12 trillion a year, and up to 380 million new jobs by 2030, according to the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (PDF 5.75MB) Opens in new window.

By using our resources to address issues such as nutrition, hygiene and climate change, we are delivering short-term and long-term benefits for shareholders as well as society.

Explore our Planet & Society Hub to find out where we are making the biggest contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.