12 Ways to be Sustainable and Contribute to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

Insights Aug 31, 2023

In an era where the future of our planet hangs in the balance, the question of how to be sustainable and make a difference in this world for the next generation is more pertinent than ever. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.

But how can we meaningfully contribute to the 17 SDGs? The first step is understanding, what are the SDGs?

What Are The SDGs?

The 17 SDGs (sometimes called ‘The Global Goals’) are a collection of independent but interconnected goals carefully designed to give all of us on our planet a better future, with hundreds of targets and measurement indicators geared toward a date of 2030. The goals were created with businesses in mind, providing a path – what some people refer to as a “Pathway for Humanity” — for any business to harness their power by directing their efforts toward specific global objectives.

Here are 12 ways to be sustainable and support our favourite SDG(s) through energising and inspiring activities. These flexible activities can be a part of our lifestyles, our business practices, or our projects.


Image Source: W.A.S.H Pledge

Businesses can be some of the biggest offenders in the wastage of water, so when they take the lead in water conservation, they can make a huge impact on awareness in their communities.

Support SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation by committing your business to a WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) pledge to “[implement] access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene at the workplace”. This will not only help keep your community clean but set a standard and expectation for others to follow – including your competitors!

And if you could, go one step further and ensure the same thing happens in a community in remote areas of the world too. Discover some of the water and sanitation projects here.


Most people spend about one-third of their adult lives in a workplace environment.

It is essential to ensure that people have a workplace conducive to maintaining good health. Businesses are thus the key drivers for SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. Emphasise safe practices in the workplace through frequent training and refreshers. Implement health and fitness programs for your team. Also, consider carefully selecting your suppliers and other B2B partners based on how they regard the health of their own employees.


Businesses are often the endpoint in a long supply chain that begins with basic materials and supplies taken from the very land on which we live.

Review your supply chain from top to bottom to make sure that all of the stages uphold human and labour rights, promote and adopt sustainable environmental practices and work against corruption in all its forms. If you’re unsure how to start, check out this guide from the UN.


Expand the reach of your impact by giving to projects that support the SDGs. You can choose to give to multiple projects or focus on one - that's entirely up to you. Some projects may support multiple SDGs at the same time.

If you don't have time to consider different projects and do your own vetting, consider partnering up with a third-party organisation that helps you do so.

Explore how you can connect the SDGs and your business here.


More and more people are packing into urban areas each year. The sustainability of cities is vital to the future of humanity, but they are eating up our consumable natural resources. Being big consumers of energy, businesses can help by taking the lead on SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. Invest in renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and biofuel. By joining initiatives such as the UN Global Compact, you can be one of the businesses to lead the charge toward a more sustainable future.


The usage of single-use plastic bags, plastic bottles, and other containers puts great pressure on our Earth.

Your business can support SDG 13 – Life on Land and SDG 14 – Life below Waterby doing your part to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by your business activities.

Do you have a business that provides plastic bags for customers?

Start switching to polypropylene bags (green reusable bags) if you have not already. Then, encourage your customers to reuse those bags. (Fun fact: these bags should be reused 35 times before being used as a bin liner or discarded to minimise their impact on the environment). You could even implement a reward system for customers who brought their own bags.

Another change you can adopt is to have a water fountain or cooler instead of a vending machine that distributes plastic drink bottles in office. Remember, every small change makes a huge impact in the long run.


Education is the pathway out of poverty and the foundation for a better future. There is no dispute on that.

Sponsor local school scholarships or give to causes that build schools, supply books and train teachers in remote areas of the world. By helping remove some of the barriers to education, you’re not just enriching their individual lives and levelling the playing field – you’re also adding talent to the workforce. Who knows? You could be helping to educate a future employee!

Explore projects that support SDG 4 - Quality Education here.


Could you survive on $2 a day?

It’s an interesting hypothetical for some, but a cold reality for too many others. Sometimes it takes putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes to catalyse our empathy and energise us to do good. In support of SDG 1 – No Poverty, try living on just $2 by having “$2 days”. Encourage your employees, partners, clients, even your friends and family to do the same. Can you give up the things that you love by living this way? What trade-offs do you have to make? Knowing that millions live on this much or less is an eye-opener and a potent motivator.


In a world of abundance, it's unacceptable for anyone to go hungry. Our communities are where we can make a tangible difference.

SDG 2 – Zero Hunger shows us a pathway to change the world by feeding our needy neighbours. Businesses can make a big impact by providing paid days off for employees to volunteer in hunger-related activities. Soup kitchens, food banks, and food delivery programs for the needy and elderly always need dedicated volunteers, especially during the holiday season.


“Employee of the Month” recognitions are typically reserved for workers with the most sales or best productivity – the ones bringing the most money for the company. But what if employees were recognised for moving the company toward better environmental practices?

To support SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, consider offering bonuses or award luncheons for your more environmentally conscious team members – especially those who move your business closer to more responsible practices.


SDG 17 – Partnerships For The Goals encourages businesses to become part of partnerships for responsible action in pursuit of any and all of the global goals.

By combining their enthusiasm for certain goals, partnerships become greater than the sum of their parts. You don’t have to stop at implementing sustainable programs at your workplace. Participate in changemaker events like sustainability education programs or retreats that let you see the effects of change. Network with like-minded business leaders and see what more you can do!


When it comes to giving, we always recommend starting with causes that are close to your heart, whether it be education, environment, health or human rights. In this case, simply start with the SDG that you feel most strongly about and give towards causes that support it.

Each action, no matter how small, plays a crucial role in driving progress towards a more sustainable and equitable world.

As we move forward, the question we must all ask ourselves is: How can we make a difference in making this world sustainable for the next generation? The answer lies in our collective efforts and commitment to the SDGs. Let's take these insights and turn them into action, ensuring a better future for all.

Here’s How I Choose to Give Back

Growing up, I never had to worry about how I would get to school, or whether there would be enough books to go around. Other than the occasional treat of a Texas tornado, I never had to worry about whether I would have a school building to go to in the morning.

However, I'm aware that millions of bright, curious minds around the world don't have these assurances. Which young Cambodian girl might cure cancer, or which Kenyan child could become a renowned poet if they had the opportunity and resources to reach their potential?

I don't have the answer, but for every B1G1 blog post I write, I give 180 days of access to reading materials to girls in Cambodia – to provide them with tools to make their own impact on the world.

It’s a small, humble contribution to the very big cause of SDG 4 – Quality Education, but now it makes every paragraph, every sentence, every word, just a little more meaningful.

Businesses of any size have the power to drive change – to harness innovation and entrepreneurship, involving employees, clients, partners, and communities, to strive towards the goals.

As we move forward, let's continue our resolutions for the new millennium – ensuring that no one is left behind in a safer, happier future.

What's your way of contributing to the goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments, because when it comes to making the world a better place, there can never be too many ideas.

Want to learn how you can support the SDGs with your business?

R. Vincent

R. Vincent enjoys reading about the dedicated people and innovative businesses of B1G1 as much as he enjoys writing about their inspiring work.

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