Sustainability. Where to start?
While sustainability may seem to be a buzz word, it can be found on many corporate agendas because its historical and present day insights are an increasingly important consideration for planning and growth.
There are as many definitions of the word as there are companies in the Fortune 500, the FTSE 100 and the ASX 200 added together.
Most definitions recognise that for development to be sustainable, growth must be both inclusive and environmentally conscious to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity for today’s population whilst continuing to meet the needs of future generations.
Three pillars of sustainable development:
- Economic Growth
- Environmental Stewardship
- Social Inclusion
These three pillars are typically highlighted to be carried across all sectors of development, from our cities facing rapid urbanization to agriculture, infrastructure, energy development and use, water availability, and transportation.
Sustainability and sustainable development focuses on balancing that fine line between competing needs – our need to move forward technologically and economically, and the needs to protect the environments in which we and others live.
Cities are increasingly looking to embrace low-carbon growth and public transportation as a necessity. Farmers are searching out practices of climate-smart agriculture. Countries are understanding the value of their natural resources, and industries are aware how they can reduce costs much through energy and supply chain efficiency.
Some major global corporates are now looking to give their sustainability goals more structure and focus and are linking to the United Nations sustainable development goals. On September 25th 2015, countries of the UN adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda over a 15 year period.
They have set-out the following 17 sustainable development goals to transform our world:
- Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
- Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Further detail about these goals can be found here.
Social Entrepreneurs Turning to Crowdfunding
It is not large corporates alone that are looking to the UN sustainable development goals. Entrepreneurship, as a dynamic force for change, is increasingly expected to contribute to this goal. This is where crowdfunding can help and indeed social entrepreneurs are increasingly looking to crowdfunding to help get their ideas and solutions off the ground.
In the past few weeks the team at ReadyFundGo has met some amazing people and been taken back by the passion people have to make a difference.
We’re highlighting two campaigns on the platform that aim to address some of the sustainability goals set out by the UN. These two campaigns fall under UN sustainable development goals:
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Sustainable Production : Green Grove Organic Farm Campaign
The first of these two projects is the Green Grove Organic Farm campaign.
The Green Grove Farm is a 1100 hectare property situated near Ardlethan, in the magnificent and fertile Riverina region of New South Wales. The farm has been owned by the Druce family since 1918. The Green Grove farm is amongst the most premium producers of organic produce in Australia.
Globally, land degradation and declining soil fertility are lessening the ability of the natural resource base to supply food. The UN goal 12 has the target by 2020 is to achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
This important crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help uncover the relationship between soil mineral nutrition, crop cultivation and food quality by uncovering the success achieved at this organic farm.
After decades of careful soil management, there is evidence of exceptional soil biodiversity and health expressed ecologically through the soil-plant-animal, food chain at theGreen Grove farm. The funds received via this campaign will be used to research and create an educational centre at the farm in order to preserve and grow knowledge.
To learn more about this fascinating campaign and how you can do your part to make a difference click here.
Conserve the Oceans: Sydney Harbour Observatory Campaign
The second campaign we are highlighting this week aligns with the UN sustainability goal of conserving the oceans.
Here a group of scientists and researchers are working to improve the health of Sydney Harbour, one of the finest in the world and a major asset to Australia.
The University of Sydney, in collaboration with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science are prototyping a marine observation system to monitor the water health of Sydney Harbour.
The Sydney Harbour campaign’s vision is to deploy a network of sensors capable of measuring selected variables providing a snapshot of the harbour’s health. The information will then be available to researchers, industry and the public. The funds raised via their campaign on ReadyFundGo will be used to purchase of the sensors for the project.
Sydney Harbour plays an important role as a marine nursery as well as being one of the most beautiful harbours in the world being used as a commercial and recreational hub. However, pollutants such as heavy metals and dioxins caused by a century of dumping industrial waste can still be found in the sediments on the harbour floor. Even though dumping has now stopped after heavy rains the flow of water increases and this re-suspends the sediment.
Given that the oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97% of the Earth’s water, and represent 99% of the living space on the planet by volume it is not surprising that a number of crowdfunding campaigns will fall under the UN sustainability goal 13 (to converse and sustainably use the oceans).
Increasing levels of debris in the world’s oceans are having a major environmental and economic impact. The UN are targeting to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025.
To learn more and get involved in this campaign click here.
Crowdfunding for Sustainability Entrepreneurs
Whilst the main purpose of crowdfunding is to get an idea, project or venture funded, there are many other benefits that can be obtained from running a successful crowdfunding campaign for the social entrepreneur.
A crowdfunding campaign can be used as market validation for an idea, as well as a way to get increasing exposure to help start the movement of social change. It’s a democratic means to harness a community concerned about sustainability that involves direct backing, and useful critical marketing learnings around branding, engagement and promotion.
At ReadyFundGo we are passionate about the power of crowdfunding to empower sustainability entrepreneurs to transform and make the world a better place.