Scott Boylston shares details of the United Nations' sustainability goals that were declared in 2015. They are also called the Global Goals, and all 17 goals are discussed, as well as how organizations like PYXERA Global and Stockholm Resilience Centre have created diagrams that help designers how the goals are interrelated.
- Sustainability is not new. For over half a century, there have been experts around the world convening with the express purpose of creating a sustainable future for humanity. The Brundtland Report that I mentioned in the first video is just one example of many. Another example is the Sustainable Development Goals, created in 2015, by the 193 member countries of the United Nations. The SDGs, or the Global Goals, as they're called, are intended to build upon the work done at past international gatherings of NGOs, governmental agencies, and global corporations, as well as the Millennium Development Goals which were set in 2000 and ended in 2015.
Having 2030 as their intended year of attainment, these goals create a holistic vision for global collaboration to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. There are 17 goals, and each goal has specific targets for 2030, for a total of 169 targets, each of which have indicators that will help in the challenging task of measuring progress. There are several websites for the Global Goals, including one that features existing public/private partnerships.
They've even created a wonderful video that helps explain the Global Goals that's worth watching. Companies, NGOs, and governments around the world have rallied around the Global Goals, not just as a common set of goals, but as a form of common language. Because of this understanding, sustainability through the Global Goals conversation is essential for anyone calling themselves a sustainable designer. So let's steady up. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
End hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all, at all ages. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all, and promote lifelong learning. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Ensure access to water and sanitation for all. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. Reduce inequality within and among countries. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. And ensure sustainable consumption in production patterns. The first 12 focus on distinct categories, while the next four are broader categories that incorporate elements from the previous ones.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. And finally, the last one focuses on the partnerships necessary to attain the rest of the goals.
Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. While categorizing the goals in this way is very helpful, it'd be a mistake to approach your design work by completing isolating targets within one goal from targets within other goals. In other words, poverty, hunger and quality education are all inextricably linked. Because of this, graphically revealing connections between goals can be very helpful to anyone working in design for sustainability.
As one example, the Stockholm Resilience Center has aligned each goal with the three bottom lines that we discussed earlier, economy, society, and environment. The concentric placement of the economy within society, and society within the environment, reinforces the deeper appreciation for how all of these elements interrelate. Just like the concentric circles we discussed in the earlier video. As another example, PYXERA Global has created a Venn diagram that situates each of the goals in four larger buckets of human rights, health, human and natural environment, and economic opportunity and employment.
As anyone engaged in design thinking knows, clustering concepts in such a way can generate insights into how solutions can address multiple challenges at the same time. In design for sustainability, we like to reference Wendell Berry's maxim of solving for pattern, where we prevent new problems from arising, from our limited solutions by anticipating unintended consequences. Instead, we seek out patterns that will help us more mindfully approach challenges in a way that will then ripple positively outward.
We'll come back to that idea later in the course. Finally, as a way to make all of this information more immediately accessible, I've created a small booklet that includes the goals and each of their targets. I found it to be very helpful in conversations I have with my clients and students, and I'm happy to share with you. You can find the PDF document, as well as PYXERA's document, in the Exercise Files.
- What is sustainability?
- Sustainable development goals
- Nature as a mentor
- Changing behavior through design
- Innovating technically
- Earning sustainability certifications
- Social innovation and change