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Using SDGs to Drive your Company’s Sustainability & Purpose Agenda: Five Examples in the Privat

Guess who can name all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 169 associated targets that come with them?

If you’ve answered “no one”, you’re right!

That’s just too much for most people to absorb, particularly if your primary responsibilities at work are not focused solely on sustainability, corporate citizenship, etc.

Although thinking about all of them  can be quite daunting, the SDGs can serve as inspiration for your company’s sustainability strategy and instill a sense of purpose for your employees.

By Drew Bonfiglio – Emzingo

Some examples in the private sector

Emzingo believes that the SDGs can be a guiding light – or at a minimum an inspiration – for your company as you try to navigate the complex challenge of preparing for a sustainable future and meeting the expectations of purpose-driven employees, consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders.  

To get you started, we’d like to share a few examples of how company-led initiatives can align with SDGs.  And, of course, if you’d like help designing your own, Emzingo is here to help purpose-driven companies and family businesses do just that!

Here are our 5 examples of private sector initiatives focused on one of the SDGs.

Lotus Foods is a specialty rice company that focuses on preserving rice biodiversity, promoting organic rice cultivation, and elevating awareness of the need to change how rice is grown around the world. Equipped with a methodology shared with Lotus founders by Cornell University back in 2005, Lotus helps even the poorest of farmers increase yield by changing the way they manage their plants, soil, water, and nutrients. They have helped more than 5000 families increase their income, reduce water usage, and provide a staple food that supplies half the world’s population with 60-70% of their daily calories.

In what has gotten a lot of press in 2017, Salesforce put its money where its mouth is, announcing on Equal Pay Day that it would spend ~$3M to rectify statistically significant differences in pay to reduce the gender pay gap at the company.

New York State’s first Benefit Corporation and friend of Emzingo, Greyston Bakery, has pioneered an Open Hiring practice to help those with barriers to employment find resources and meaningful work. Their tagline says it all:

Eat Brownies. Change Lives.

As part of what Forbes magazine called the coolest deal ever  (while buying its fourth B Corp in the last 12 months), Unilever and its newly purchased company, Sundial Brands, are creating the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to $100 million by attracting investments from other interested parties.

In the UK, B Corps came together for a hackathon focused on creating innovations related to the #12 SDG: Responsible Consumption and Production. The winning idea was a reusable Tampon Applicator that they hope will make a dent in reducing the plastic waste associated with the millions of applicators that end up in landfills.

As you can see, there are creative and meaningful ways to engage your employees and align your impact with the SDGs. We hope we’ve inspired you and wish you the best of luck with your 2018 strategies!


Emzingo is a social enterprise and certified B Corp focused on developing the next generation of Responsible Leaders. We work with values-driven organizations and forward-thinking leaders who recognize that employees who care, a vision that inspires, and a connection between their core business and social and environmental impact can dramatically increase overall business performance – and make it an amazing place to work in the process.

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