The first of the 17 SDG’s, and potentially the most difficult to eradicate, is No Poverty. This goal aims to ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’.
Extreme poverty is defined by the UN as those who are living with less than $1.25 per day. In 2020, this number increased due natural disasters, the global pandemic, and the loss of jobs.
As much as over 8% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty. This is a huge amount, and restricts the quality of people’s lives immensely. In poverty, there is hunger, poor health, lack of education, and inequality. These are people who do have their basic needs met. They are unable to live happy, dignified lives.
All of the Goals are linked together, and so working towards ending poverty is also about working towards ending inequalities and increasing people’s wellbeing. If you wish to be more sustainable it is not just about looking after our planet, but it is also about looking after people. It is about helping people to live dignified lives.
A closer look into ending poverty
On a global scale, some priority actions on eradicating poverty are: improving access to sustainable livelihoods, providing universal access to basic social services, continue to develop social protection systems that support those who cannot support themselves, address the disproportionate impact of on women, work with interested donors to allocate increased shares of ODA to poverty eradication, and intensify the international cooperation for poverty eradication.
This sounds like a big, overwhelming, and difficult task. It is. But with businesses, companies, and people working together, we can end poverty.
Each time a business decides to work towards sustainability, we get closer and closer to eradicating world poverty.
What exacerbates poverty? Here are just some examples.
- A lack of job opportunities.
- Natural disasters, for example drought, flooding, and sever storms.
- Limited or poor education.
- Lack of good healthcare.
- Limited food and water.
Most of these examples are one of the Sustainable Development Goals, showing how working towards a few Goals can have a significant impact.
Something a business can do is think about which Goal or Goals they believe they would like their business to work towards. This makes the idea of being more sustainable less confusing and vague — it helps to give a purpose. You can decide whether your want your SDG focus to be Goals that you either want to work towards the most, or ones that are most relevant for your business.
If you feel as though you would like your business to work towards this Goal, then one thing you could do is decide on one or two other SDG’s that relate to or exacerbate poverty. For example, SDG 2 ‘Zero Hunger’ and SDG 8 ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ in addition to SDG 1. Alternatively, you might wish to work towards Goals that are different from one another, to work towards different areas of sustainability.
But how can my business help?
One way you and your business can work towards ‘No Poverty’ is by taking a closer look at your business and asking yourself some questions.
Can you relieve poverty for workers in the supply chain?
How much do you pay your employees?
Do you pay a good and full price for your products?
Thinking of these questions, and taking a deep look into your supply chain, your employees pay, and how poverty links to your business, is an important way to start thinking about SDG 1 and your business. Once you feel secure that you are not exacerbating poverty you can then look into how your business can help in a wider way.
One way you could do this is by donating a percentage of sales revenue to charities that work towards helping those who live in poverty. This way, a small percentage of every item goes towards your SDG focus, helping the consumer to work towards ending poverty.
Another way is through getting your team involved. Could you offer a day each year for your team to volunteer with a charity that supports your SDG focus? You could also think of how your team can take this SDG further, such as supporting other businesses as a team who pay a fair wage to their supply chain.
In our next blog we will be focusing on Goal 2: Zero Hunger, and discussing in more depth what this Goal means and what we can do to take action.
If you would like to read more about the Sustainable Development Goals then you can do so here. If you would like to speak to Mark for more information about what sustainability can do for your business, and how you can integrate your chosen SDGs into your business, then you can contact him here.