Launched January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are now in effect for almost 3 years. Superseding the Millennium Development Goals, they seek to provide a framework to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity”. Buy how, you might wonder, are they relevant to social enterprise and civil society organisations in Europe?
While at a first glimpse, the SDGs, speaking about poverty, peace, and hunger, might seem a little inappropriate for the European context, their global outlook makes them also applicable here. Inviting us to take a closer look at the SDGs at Gathering to Grow, Steve Kenzie from UN Global Compact showed us how also the SDG 2 “Zero Hunger” has implications for Europe. He explained how each SDG has a number of targets associated to it which in turn comes with indicators. In the case of SDG2 two of these targets “ending all forms of malnutrition” and “increase investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research, technology and gene banks” – Targets that also Europeans can identify with.
The SDGs are an overarching framework that is globally recognised. As such, they provide language and allow for a shared understanding when it comes to assessing the impact of a project or organisation. Working with the SDGs thus offers a unique opportunity for social enterprises and civil society organisations to implement a widely accepted framework to measuring their impact. Furthermore, they in turn also allow organisations to clearly communicate the impact by referencing the SDGs. As also the public is increasingly aware of the SDGs, they too will be able to better understand the impact of a given project when aligning its communication to the SDGs.
As Steven Kenzie shared, the SDGs have also become a tool for other stakeholders: Investors might have their own targets linked to the SDGS while public officials are seeking ways to translate the commitments made on a national or local scale into tangible projects. Being able to clearly communicate and quantify the impact made by a project in accordance to the SDGs will help to attract funding and engage into new partnerships. Aligning and quantifying the projects of civil society organisations and social enterprises will allow them to diversify their partnership and funding.
At Euclid Network, our goal is to empower civil society and social enterprises, to help them succeed in the work they are doing. Currently, we are assessing how we can implement the SDGs more deeply into our own impact measurement as weel as how to best show the impact of our members.
Think Global, Trade Social (2015) report by the British Council, Social Enterprise UK and the World Bank
“The SDGs are an overarching framework that is globally recognised. As such, they provide language and allow for a shared understanding when it comes to assessing the impact of a project or organisation.”
Find out more
If you want to know more about the SDGs and their application to the social enterprise and civil society sector, please get in touch with Christian.