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UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development

We are contributing to the Global Goals through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

A vision and roadmap for sustainable development


The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

In September 2015, more than 190 countries signed up to the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Global Goals), which set out a vision for ending poverty, hunger, inequality and protecting the Earth’s natural resources by 2030.

Delivery of the Global Goals by 2030 is highly ambitious, and no organisation, institution, government or business can achieve it alone. The private sector, governments and civil society now need to find new ways of working together to drive the systemic change needed to achieve this vision.

Business had a vital role in shaping the Global Goals, and continues to do so in the delivery of the goals. Business is key to generating economic growth, job creation, investing in innovation and helping to unlock the investment needed to deliver the Global Goals. It is in businesses self-interest to engage and create a more sustainable future. There is no business case for enduring poverty.

Acting on the belief that business can be a game-changer in the delivery of the Global Goals, in January 2016 Unilever’s CEO, Paul Polman, and Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN Deputy Secretary-General, created the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (Business Commission). The Business Commission brings together international leaders from business, labour, financial institutions and civil society to show how, through an evidence-backed case, mainstreaming that sustainable development can spark unprecedented business opportunities.

In January 2017, the Business &and Sustainable Development Commission launched its flagship report ‘Better Business, Better World’. The Business Commission research shows that the delivery of the SDGs would create market opportunities of up to US$12 trillion a year and up to 380 million new jobs by 2030.

To seize this opportunity, and help achieve our ambition of zero poverty, zero carbon and zero hunger by 2030, it is clear that business as usual will not get us there. We need a radical and transformative shift in the today’s operating model towards one that creates long-term value.

“There is no business case for enduring poverty. We have an opportunity to unlock trillions of dollars through new markets, investments and innovation. But to do so, we must challenge our current practices and address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges. Every business will benefit from operating in a more equitable, resilient world if we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO

How does the USLP contribute to the Global Goals?

Within our own activities we have identified where Unilever has the biggest potential to contribute to the Global Goals, given the nature, scale and reach of our business, and how this will add value to our business.

The following table is not an exhaustive list of every Global Goal which relates to the USLP but rather a broad overview.

Global GoalsRelated USLP pillars
GOAL 1: NO POVERTY

Fairness in the workplace

Inclusive business

Opportunities for women

GOAL 2: ZERO HUNGER

Improving nutrition

Inclusive business

Opportunities for women

Sustainable sourcing

GOAL 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Fairness in the workplace

Health & hygiene

Improving nutrition

GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION

Inclusive business

Opportunities for women

Sustainable sourcing

GOAL 5: GENDER EQUALITYOpportunities for women
GOAL 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

Health & hygiene

Water use

GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGYGreenhouse gases
GOAL 8: DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTHAll USLP pillars
GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Greenhouse gases

Inclusive business

Opportunities for women

Water use

Waste & packaging

GOAL 10: REDUCE INEQUALITY

Fairness in the workplace

Inclusive business

Opportunities for women

GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Health & hygiene

Waste & packaging

GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Greenhouse gases

Waste & packaging

Water use

GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION

Greenhouse gases

Sustainable sourcing

Water use

GOAL 14: LIFE BELOW WATERWaste & packaging
GOAL 15: LIFE ON LANDSustainable sourcing
GOAL 16: PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONSFairness in the workplace
GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALSAll USLP pillars

Our role in contributing to the development of the Global Goals

We contributed to the development of the Global Goals, recognising their strategic importance to our business and the world.

During 2012 and 2013, Paul Polman served on the UN’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda – a panel of representatives from government, civil society and business tasked with advising the UN Secretary-General on the future development agenda for when the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expired in 2015. As part of this, we organised an extensive business consultation and sought to ensure that the voice of business was included in the negotiations.

In 2014 we coordinated the development of a Post-2015 Business Manifesto (PDF | 3MB), which was endorsed by more than 20 leading international companies. This was a ‘call to arms’ from the business community in support of the Global Goals process and laid out a vision for strengthening the ability of business to substantially help achieve the Global Goals.

In 2016, Paul Polman was asked to serve on the UN Secretary-General’s Advocacy Group for the Global Goals, joining other advocates from business, academia, entertainment and social enterprises, to raise awareness of the Global Goals and contribute to their achievement by 2030. Paul Polman continues to serve as a member of the SDG Advocacy Group.

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