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Sustainability In Business: How SMBs Can Follow UN Goals Straight Toward Success

Globally, more than 50% of all jobs come from the more than 400 million small businesses dotting our globe. Small businesses have a huge impact on not just the workplace, but the world in general, too. This means that business owners have a responsibility to create sustainability whenever possible, and there’s money to be made throughout the process.


This article shares a few different ways that SMBs can help the world prosper one responsible action at a time.


What Are the 17 Goals?


The United Nations Department of Economic And Social Affairs has identified 17 goals that we should all strive toward to make the world a better place. These include:


● Ending poverty

● Zero hunger

● Global well-being

● Inclusive education

● Gender equality

● Clean water

● Clean energy

● Sustainable economic growth

● Resilient infrastructure

● Sustainable communities

● Responsible consumption

● Action against climate change

● Oceanic sustainability

● Biodiversity

● Social justice

● Partnership



Examples of Ways Businesses Can Help


While small businesses cannot fight all 17 of these categories alone, there are many ways in which they can help at a local level. Just a few examples include:


Donating unused food. Food waste is a major problem in most Western countries, but so too is hunger. According to Delish, Olive Garden, KFC, Pizza Hut, Longhorn, and Starbucks are among just a few of the major restaurant chains that donate food instead of taking it to the dumpster. Small businesses can follow suit and take their uneaten fare to local food banks or shelters.



Launching a green business. A green business is one that will foster sustainability. If you have yet to launchyour new business, consider becoming a solar energy consultant, equipment manufacturer, or solar energy installer. These are just a few options, and there are many other ways to carve out a niche that also does good for the world. Even if your business is not traditionally considered a “green” business, simple steps, such as reducing energy consumption and eliminating waste, will help.


Paying fair wages. Small businesses can help combat gender inequality, poverty, and sustainable economic growth in their own communities by offering fair wages across the board. Business owners and managers should pay careful attention to their biases against women and minorities and make wage and employment decisions based solely on job criteria.


Making sustainable business decisions. Roadrunner Recycling offers lots of advice to small business owners looking to combat climate change within their organizations. These include choosing sustainable suppliers, reducing energy consumption, and limiting business travel.



Educating the workforce. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools out there, and business owners can best serve global sustainability goals by ensuring their workforce is aware of their mission. Sustainability, social justice, and other social and global issues might be addressed in a business’s mission statement. Another way to encourage positive habits at the individual level is to offer training and educational programs throughout the year along with volunteer opportunities and other incentives.



The world needs change. The 17 areas identified by the United Nations are the most pressing, and, despite the challenges, small businesses can have a huge impact in each one of these areas. If you are a small business just getting started, start by looking into sustainable businesses that help you earn while helping. But most importantly, never lose sight of the fact that your business works for a greater good than just profit.


Author: Janet Lovelace created Work Can Wait because too many entrepreneurs feel like work is always calling. Work Can Wait is about helping small business owners automate, delegate, and systematize their businesses so they can prioritize their lives.


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