The goals are highly interdependent. Progress on one will affect all or some of the others, so considering the SDGs at a project’s outset helps maximise the positive environmental, social and economic outcomes, while minimising any adverse impacts. That’s what we seek to do – by opening opportunities with connected thinking.
Take a concentrated solar energy plant in South Africa that we helped to deliver. It directly delivers goal 7 on affordable and clean energy. But, through support for the local, rural community, it also contributes to achieving good health and wellbeing (goal 3) by reducing air pollution from traditional fossil fuels energy plants; provides employment opportunities, reducing poverty (goal 1) and supporting decent work and economic growth (goal 8); builds infrastructure to support industry and innovation (goal 9) as well as sustainable cities (goal 11); and addresses climate change (goal 13).
Meanwhile, a water resources strategy we helped to develop for the East of England, an expanding region increasingly prone to drought, will ensure the local industry continues to thrive (goal 8); farmers’ crops will flourish (goal 2); local communities have access to clean water and sanitation, and water-related ecosystems are protected (goal 6); water supplies are used responsibly (goal 12); and all stakeholders work together to meet demand for water from a growing population and to adapt to the impacts of climate change (goal 17).
Our commitment to helping achieve the global goals is underlined by our membership of the UN Global Compact, which requires participants to advance progress towards the SDGs as well as incorporate 10 principles covering human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We recently reaffirmed our commitment to the compact and published our 2019 Communication on progress.