Sustainable development objectives

The paradox of the UN SDOs (Sustainable Development Goals)

It has been more than a year and a half since the UN's SDOs (Sustainable Development Goals) were adopted to address environmental, social and economic issues around the world. An ambitious initiative that requires the mobilization of all actors for its implementation and that opens perspectives to get out of a world in crisis. And yet in France, the subject does not seem to be a national priority for the government... Fortunately, some actors have begun to mobilize!

Aes Sustainable development objectivess have a unique international framework for action to build a peaceful and sustainable world. Adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations Assembly, these 17 global goals constitute a universal language and a genuine roadmap for all States and the actors that make them up. Set out in 169 targets for the period 2016-2030, their global monitoring is based on a list of 244 indicators, with the aim of acting for the common good. They cover the full range of social, environmental and economic issues in both developed and developing countries.
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring access to quality education for all, achieving gender equality, promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all, are among the social priorities. This Agenda 2030 is ambitious and requires the mobilization of all stakeholders, whether States, communities, businesses or associations. At the beginning of the 21st century, inequalities have never been so great in the world, between different geographical areas, social categories, gender, age, in the professional or educational world, etc. The result of inequitable or disproportionate treatment, they conceal multiple causes that must be identified and combated. Agenda 2030 also calls for the development of research, support for economic development via VSE/SMEs, rethinking cities and transforming economic and industrial models.
Human, social and economic issues are not the only priorities adopted. SDOs also aim to preserve the environment, with the fight against climate change and against the erosion of biodiversity, a concept that is still often misunderstood, which includes all living organisms (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.) and their interactions.
Remember that we cannot live without biodiversity: everything we eat comes from biodiversity; ecosystems provide us with water and air, raw materials, regulate diseases or are even sources of inspiration and recreation! However, there has been rapid impoverishment and mass extinctions of species for several decades. Thus, objectives and targets have been adopted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop renewable energies, preserve and restore terrestrial ecosystems, conserve and sustainably exploit the oceans, stop pollution and greatly reduce waste production.

Necessary mobilization of all actors

Action on these issues will only be effective if each country invests at its own level. And the mobilization of local, economic and civil society actors will also be a guarantee of success. For the first time in the history of humanity, the issues and priorities of a century have been defined and even shared globally. The path towards sustainable development has been marked out and the SDOs have succeeded in the difficult exercise of transversality, setting a clear course for all nations. They even have the good taste not to be "an additional layer" but, on the contrary, to take up the existing frameworks (biodiversity and climate convention, ILO convention, etc.) and make them consistent!
And yet... ODDs have generated little enthusiasm within the French government. More than a year and a half after their adoption, the French version of the priorities, the action strategy and the resources are still lacking to take society towards a desirable and sustainable future.
Nor can it be said that DPOs were at the heart of the - very special - presidential campaign we have just experienced. Political portage had been questioned by an EESC opinion in 2016 and proposed that SDOs be carried by the Prime Minister rather than the Minister of the Environment, for greater transversality.
That said, the Ministry of the Environment has taken initial mobilization actions and published in mid-2016 a first document summary identifying some public policies contributing to SDOs. For its part, INSEE (the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) published on 24 March 2017, 110 indicators for monitoring SDOs at the national level.
The National CSR Platform, a multi-stakeholder body for dialogue and proposals housed at France Stratégie, has also initiated discussions on SDOs.
For their part, some companies, aware of the importance of this agenda, have begun to mobilise. In 2016, the study published by B&L évolutiona consulting firm specializing in sustainable development, shows that 11 CAC40 companies have already made commitments or carried out projects to implement SDOs.
VSE/SMEs are not to be outdone: about ten or socompanies in the Pays Voironnais (near Grenoble), from 5 to 500 employees have put forward their concrete actions for Agenda 2030 through their CSR strategy.
Indeed, SDOs provide the direction to be followed in order to contribute concretely to sustainable development priorities. A company's CSR approach may therefore need to be updated to integrate - or better integrate - these new dimensions into management processes. SDOs are also a source of responsible innovation because a company can develop - or make evolve - products and services that directly or indirectly meet the Objectives. Finally, a company can contribute through a policy of patronage and the creation of partnerships. This is a fine subject for renewing its dialogue with its stakeholders and its materiality analysis, i.e. the analysis of the major sustainable development issues for the company.
A new president has just been elected, we will see if Agenda 2030 is one of the priorities of the next government!
Sylvain BoucherandCEO of B&L evolution

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