What Are The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015 the UN set an ambitious 15-year plan to address some of the most pressing issues faced by the world. By providing support to maximize the benefits of international standardization and ensure the uptake of International Standards, we are helping to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Economic, environmental and societal dimensions are all directly addressed by International Standards. Organizations and companies looking to contribute to the SDGs will find that International Standards provide effective tools to help them rise to the challenge.

List of Sustainable Development Goals

1. No Poverty
End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

By providing a platform for best practice in all areas of economic activity, from agriculture to banking, International Standards contribute to the sustainable production of food and resources as well as sustainable employment. An example is ISO 20400 which helps organizations develop sustainable and ethical purchasing practices.

Goal 2. Zero Hunger
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

International Standards for the food production sector are designed to create confidence in food products, improve agricultural methods and promote sustainable and ethical purchasing. For example, ISO 22000 helps organizations identify and control food safety hazards.

Goal 3. Good Health and Wellbeing
Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

Numerous International Standards (including ISO 11137 for the sterilization of healthcare products by radiation and ISO 7153 on materials for surgical instruments) support safe, quality medical practices and equipment that help healthcare providers deliver a more reliable and effective service.

Goal 4. Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

ISO 21001 is aimed at improving the processes and quality of educational institutions to address the needs and expectations of those who use their services. In addition, there are International Standards for learning services provided outside formal education.

Goal 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

There are many International Standards for water management, spanning a variety of areas from wastewater and sewerage networks, to water reuse, efficient irrigation, water footprint monitoring, and service activities relating to drinking water supply systems. An example is ISO 24518 which helps communities manage their drinking water and wastewater services in the event of a crisis of water utilities.

Goal 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

There are over 200 International Standards that represent internationally agreed guidelines and requirements for solutions to energy efficiency and renewable sources. For example ISO 50001 helps organizations of all kinds to use energy more efficiently, through the development and implementation of an energy management system.

Goal 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

International Standards promote economic growth by setting a common language and internationally agreed specifications. As a product of best practice and consensus, they also help to reduce barriers to international trade. For example ISO 37001 contributes to economic prosperity by helping organizations fight bribery and promote an anti-bribery culture.

Goal 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Covering virtually all industries, International Standards support sustainable industrialization through internationally agreed specifications that meet quality, safety and sustainability requirements. For example ISO 44001 provides a common platform to maximize the benefits of collaborative working and assist companies in establishing healthy business relationships, both within and between organizations.

Goal 10. Reduced Inequalities
Reduce inequality within and among countries.

A weak National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) can be a major impediment to a country's integration into regional and global markets, limiting the opportunities offered by trade and hindering the ability to improve public welfare in vital areas such as health, safety and environmental protection. ISO 26000, for example, provides guidelines on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way, which includes encompassing the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunities.

Goal 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Several International Standards foster responsible use of resources, preserving the environment and improving the well-being of citizens. ISO 37101, for example, helps communities define their sustainable development objectives and implement strategies to achieve them.

Goal 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Reducing our environmental impact, promoting the use of renewable sources of energy and encouraging responsible purchasing decisions are just some of the ways that International Standards contribute to sustainable consumption and production. ISO 20400, for example, helps organizations incorporate sustainability into their procurement function.

Goal 13. Climate Action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

A number of International Standards help to monitor climate change, quantify greenhouse gas emissions and promote good practice in environmental management. ISO 14001, for example, details practical tools for organizations to manage the impact of their activities on the environment.

Goal 14. Life below Water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Some International Standards address the traceability of fish and environmental management of marine resources. ISO's technical committee TC 8 has developed over 250 sustainability-related standards for the design, construction, equipment, technology and marine environmental matters related to shipbuilding.

Goal 15. Life on Land
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Hundreds of International Standards have the objective of protecting and promoting life on land through better use of resources. ISO 38200, for example, promotes traceability in the wood supply chain by encouraging greater use of wood from sustainable sources, and is an essential tool for helping to combat illegal deforestation.

Goal 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

There are a number of International Standards that address good practice for effective governance, ranging from direction, control and accountability, to compliance, corruption and whistleblowing. ISO 37001, for example, helps promote peace, justice and strong institutions by increasing transparency and accountability.

Goal 17. Partnerships for the Goals
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

International Standards are developed with the collaboration and consensus of a wide range of stakeholders from all corners of the earth, including representatives from government, industry and standardization bodies.