On September 25th 2015, all member states of the United Nations signed up to a set of Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Each Goal – 17 in total – has a set of targets and indicators to achieve by 2030.
Governments from each country are required to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the 'Global Goals', into their national development plans and policies as well as collect and submit data to the UN to monitor progress on achieving the Goals.
But, business, alongside civil society and citizens, have also been called on to play their part in achieving the Goals.
It is estimated that the UN Sustainable Development Goals could represent a $12 trillion economic opportunity by 2030, through transforming business models to better meet society's needs. Meanwhile, Unilever CEO Paul Polman has described them as the "greatest economic opportunity of a lifetime".
Momentum has been building within the business community to take action on the SDGs since their official launch in January 2016. But there's increasing evidence those efforts could be falling short – or worse still, in some cases, amount to greenwash – due to a lack of meaningful and measurable evidence of ongoing action.
The Planet Mark™ is committed to helping organisations contribute to the Global Goals in a meaningful and measurable way and has therefore conducted a detailed analysis of how its sustainability certification programme aligns with the SDGs – both directly through measurable actions certified businesses are required to take, and indirectly through its investment in rainforest protection and sustainability education.
How can The Planet Mark™ help your business align with the SDGs in a meaningful and measurable way?
The Planet Mark™ for Business is a certification programme that recognises continuous improvement in sustainability. Organisations are awarded The Planet Mark™ by committing to and then having to meet minimum reduction targets in their environmental impacts year-on-year. In this way, The Planet Mark™ ensures holders are taking meaningful action on sustainability.
In order to retain The Planet Mark™, certification holders must reduce their carbon footprint year-on-year, through savings in energy, waste, water, travel, and procurement. The minimum annual carbon reduction is 2.5%, but holders of The Planet Mark™ are exceeding this target year-on-year - they achieved an average absolute carbon reduction of 4%, and per employee reduction of 10%, in 2016 compared to 2015.
Holders of The Planet Mark™ are also required to set targets to reduce their carbon footprint on an annual basis. The Planet Mark™ Certification uses a rigorous methodology for calculating and verifying carbon footprints based on the internationally recognised standard, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This ensures The Planet Mark™ Certification delivers measurable impacts in alignment with SDGs.
Being a holder of The Planet Mark™ means your business can directly and measurably contribute to the following seven SDGs:
The Planet Mark™ Certification programme also contributes to the UN SDGs through the two main charities it partners with and invests in:
Eden Project Partnership
The Planet Mark™ is partnered with the Eden Project, an educational charity and an award-winning international visitor destination and centre for education in sustainability and innovation. Every business certification awarded through The Planet Mark™ programme contributes 5% of the fee to the Eden Project. In addition, each certification comes with 12 free tickets to Eden Project that organisations are encouraged to use to learn more about climate change and the importance of biodiversity.
Cool Earth Partnership
The Planet Mark™ is partnering with Cool Earth, the award-winning charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. Alongside every new business certification, The Planet Mark™ protects an acre of rainforest through Cool Earth.
The impact of protecting an acre of rainforest is measurable and amounts to:
- 240 trees protected
- Thousands of species sheltered
- 76,000 litres of water produced
- 260 tonnes of CO2 stored.
How does The Planet Mark™ contribute directly and indirectly to the 17 SDGs?
The table below maps The Planet Mark™ Certification programme against the 17 Global Goals and how it aligns with them either through directly contributing to a Goal, through measurable impacts, or indirectly through the actions it encourages and through the charities it partners and invests in.