What is a sustainable business?
There have been many business initiatives and calls to action addressing some individual aspects of sustainable development such as recycling, food waste, product life cycle management, corporate social responsibility, human right, community impact, sharing economy, circular economy, and various eco-labels.
The most comprehensive and globally recognisable sustainability framework for governments and businesses is the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs were adopted unanimously by all UN Member States in 2015. The framework consists of 17 global goals, implementation guidance for businesses, governments and NGOs, and disclosure and reporting standards.
The UK Government was at the forefront of negotiating the SDGs prior to 2015 but the real work started in 2019 when the UK Government conducted its first Voluntary National Review of progress towards the SDGs. Since then the Government ascertains that the Goals are fully embedded in planned activity and policies of each Government departments. It also encourages local authorities to adopt SDGs in their planning activities, and many of them already do.