A huge part of sustainability is thinking about both people and the planet. It is about how the two are just as important as each other; we cannot help one without helping the other. If we want to create a brighter future by 2030 for all then supporting people’s health and wellbeing is imperative.
The official website for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states that this SDG aims to:
‘Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio; end preventable deaths of newborns and children; end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases; reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases; strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse; halve the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents; ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services; achieve universal health coverage; and reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and pollution.’
There is still a long way to go, but making this SDG a focus for your business means that you can help to promote wellbeing in both your team and more widely.
Starting to think about SDG 3
A good way to start is to think about what your business does on both a smaller scale (within the team) and on a wider scale. Some things you could start to think about are:
Do all of your staff have access to health-care services? Can you help your team to access more green spaces on a regular basis? Do you pay above the Real Living Wage so that your staff are more able to look after their health?
It is important to think about how you can support the health of your team, but SDG 3 isn’t only about physical health and reducing diseases. It is also about promoting well-being and preventing death.
In this way, mental health is also a large part of this SDG, and there are many things we can do to support it in the workplace.
5 ways to support healthy lives and wellbeing in the workplace
Mental health first aid training
- One way to encourage well-being for your team is to invest in mental health training. Making sure that at least one member of the team is a Mental Health First Aider is a great way to be there for your team. It means that anyone in the team can access someone who can help them when they need it, and feel supported.
Fair wages for all
- Giving fair wages and a decent holiday allowance for your team is another great way to help their health and well-being. With fair wages they are less likely to suffer from hunger and more likely to able to afford in a place that is safe and closer to natural spaces.
- Avoiding unpaid overtime is another way to support mental health. Make sure that your employees are not experiencing burn-out from overworking. If they are feeling overwhelmed, give them the time and support they need.
Self care for the team
- Encouraging events or hobbies that might help your team’s mental health is another great way to support. Journaling is a really useful tool for not only feeling more creative, but also for releasing thoughts and feeling calm. I write more about it here, but purchasing a journal for each team member can be a way to encourage them to journal and prioritise self care. Going out for walks in nature is another way to look after our mental well-being. You can find our blog that discusses it in more detail here, but perhaps encouraging work trips to natural spaces (when current restrictions are lifted) is a way to put a focus on well-being.
Creating a supportive environment
- All of these things are important, but perhaps the most important is creating a work environment that is supportive, trusting, and without judgement. Encouraging group discussions over mental health, and discussing any worries that one might have, is a great way for team members to feel connected and seen. This could be taking time out each week to check in on each other, supporting each other’s work with affirmative or appreciative language, and being there for each other. Encouraging the team to discover their ‘Love Language’ is a great way to help the team understand how to support one another.
Supporting health and wellbeing on a wider scale
Once you have started to support the health of your team, there are many ways you can help to support this SDG on a wider scale.
One way you can support SDG 3 is through supporting projects that work towards this Goal. You can find a list of projects here.
For example, at the end of last year the team’s Christmas was offset as an end of year gift. With Terra Neutra, the money spent on offsetting has gone towards their Low Smoke Cookstoves project in Sudan.
On their website it states that the The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that smoke inhalation from traditional wood burning stoves is equal to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Supporting projects such as this when offsetting your office’s carbon usage, for example, is a great way to support the health and wellbeing of those at high risk of respiratory diseases.
This is one example of how you can help. Other ways are donating a small part of your revenue to charities that support the health and well-being of the most vulnerable. In this way, you can help others to support this Goal through supporting your product or brand.
Learning more about what the SDGs can do for you
In our next blog we will be focusing on Goal 4: Quality Education, 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 you, and how you can integrate your chosen SDGs into your business, then you can contact him here.