Taking advantage of opportunities for sustainable development and putting organisations on a sustainable path with the UN development goals
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations were adopted by all of the member countries as part of a participative process. These 17 goals address the major challenges that the world is currently facing. The 17 UN sustainability goals offer an ideal framework for discovering opportunities for sustainable development, reducing future risks, and developing innovative strategies for the future. For sustainability experts and officers, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a contemporary basis for making organisations fit for the future, building resilience, and generating social added value.
The SDG Workshop by Forum Tomorrow offers an innovative approach for incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into one’s organisational strategy and also taking action right away – in line with the motto “actions speak louder than words”. Participants in the SDG Workshop learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals in detail, to understand the global interrelationships, and to identify areas for action in both their own organisation and their personal lives. A light-hearted, fun approach and space for exchanging ideas provide motivation and inspiration to contribute to the sustainability goals.
Four modules for sustainable transformation:
- SDGs in Focus is a basic introduction into the topic of sustainable development: Following a brief impulse session about individual global goals, small groups are formed to develop ideas and solutions that contribute to meeting the worldwide challenges between now and 2030. During this process, links to the participants’ everyday and professional lives are identified so that everyone can make a small contribution to the solution together. The impulse workshop is intended to last one to two hours and provides a compact overview of the 2030 Agenda and insight into one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- The status check in the SDGs in Practice module allows participants to complete a situation analysis of their organisation’s business practices on the basis of the Sustainable Development Goals during a half-day workshop. The core of this innovative method is a participative process with a fun approach that intuitively identifies sustainability potential in a company in a streamlined manner.
- During the SDG Online Workshop, participants develop their individual sustainability strategy based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and are able to work where and when they choose. Participants can work through 19 online modules offering video presentations about each SDG at their own pace. In addition, eight online coaching sessions provide space for exchanging experiences and learning from one another. Sustainability officers and senior managers are given step-by-step guidance for developing their own sustainability strategy. Participants can become certified as an “SDG Expert” by completing an additional module, thus allowing them to propagate the implementation of the SDGs at organisations. The online programme can be started at any time, and participants have access to the SDG Online Workshop for six months.
- Building on the SDG Online Workshop, participants align their individual SDG sustainability strategy with the future orientation of their company at the SDG Strategy Day (one-day workshop). In a peer group made up of pioneer organisations, the participants are given input and feedback and fine-tune their specific action plan for implementing the strategy with a focus on the global goals. They discover areas of future potential for their company and at the same time strengthen their positioning as a sustainable, meaningful, and future-oriented organisation.
Transformative learning put into practice
Objective and target group
The SDG Workshop is aimed at managers, entrepreneurs, and management consultants who want to make their organisations sustainable. It promotes understanding of the global Sustainable Development Goals. Self-reflection, transferring new knowledge to one’s own everyday and professional life, and direct inputs for the implementation of measures help form a bridge from knowledge to action. A combination of different methods and a mix of classroom and online formats make it possible to adopt new perspectives and facilitate a critical examination of the 17 global goals in an accessible way.
As a result, participants gain
- solidification of their company goals in connection with the global goals,
- visible potential for improvement in their own organisation,
- an implementable sustainability strategy based on the SDGs for their own organisation.
Participants are given a compact overview of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are presented with good practice examples that provide inspiration and guidance for finding solutions to the relevant global challenges in their sphere of action and for their stakeholders. Managers and sustainability officers who want to strategically anchor the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their organisation are given easily accessible knowledge for the development of a corporate strategy with a social impact.
From politics to practical application
In the course of the SDG Workshop, the basic political concept of the Sustainable Development Goals (the 2030 Agenda) is transferred to the company level by translating the “language of politics” into the ‘language of practitioners’. This makes the UN Sustainable Development Goals relevant and useful for all organisations, whether they are for-profit or non-profit, international or regional. A key aspect is the guidance that participants receive allowing them to focus on their own scope of action and take measures towards sustainable development immediately and on a local basis.
Participants learn which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals they can make a contribution to on the basis of practical case studies and through mutual exchange. They examine the topic from various perspectives, both with a focus on their own organisation and from the standpoint of citizens/consumers.
develop understanding for the relevant SDG,
identify the needs and circumstances of stakeholders,
reflect on their own situation in connection with the given SDG,
develop individual solutions in a proven structure,
formulate impact-oriented corporate goals,
identify connections between individual SDGs and between SDGs and their own organisation.
Effects of the project
Sigrid Koloo is active in the field of adult education and is an entrepreneur who passionately works on the development and implementation of sustainable business ideas. As a start-up coach, she provides support for projects related to the topics of sustainability and impact. She focuses on business models and corporate strategies based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, impact thinking, and values of the common good.
This article is based on a presentation at the 2020 EPALE online conference.