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Social and Economic Sustainability for Business 101

By: Sabrina Clarke

· Sustainability,Strategy


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The UN Global Compact defines Social Sustainability as identifying and managing business impacts, both positive and negative, on people.

Business has a vital role in achieving a sustainable world, so I take their definition and apply a different focus- "managing business impacts, both positive and negative on business". When I advise companies, I apply this context using the Sustainable Development Goals as a core foundation for companies to achieve their commercial goals sustainably. Some people may think my approach is an oxymoron, but it isn't.

The image below is how I classify Social Sustainability for business using the SDGs, and goals 10, 11 and 16, "business", are my strategic focus. All goals are important, but not everyone can do everything. As the proverb goes, many hands make light work.

CSR, HR, Skills/Learning and Development, and businesses that provide a variation of these services will typically focus on goals 1-5 "people". There is an overlap with goal 10, and I will get into that later, but this is a simple way to understand it for now.

My niche of expertise is Social and Economic Sustainability in business and the supply chain. Follow me if you are curious or want to stay up to date.