The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encourage businesses to act responsibly with regards to water and aquatic ecosystems across their supply chains. However, compliance with the water-related SDGs can also provide a number of business opportunities, according to a Business Brief developed by IUCN for the Aquacross project, which seeks to advance knowledge and application of ecosystem-based management for aquatic ecosystems.
The SDGs are a series of goals and targets agreed at the UN level to guide the world towards more sustainable modes of life by the year 2030. Businesses have a vital role to play in their implementation: by conducting their affairs responsibly they can contribute to positive change, and are well-placed to provide innovation, technical capabilities and vital financing.
There are three goals that are particularly relevant to businesses that use freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems: SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 14 on Life Below Water; and SDG 15 on Life on Land. Together, these goals provide a useful framework for corporate social responsibility related to water.
Water is a vital resource to many businesses and so protecting its sources can help companies to mitigate long-term and short-term risks, including disruptions from natural disasters, averting flood risks arising from lost wetlands, and scarcity of resources, such as fish.
Contributing to implementation of the SDGs also presents opportunities for new products and markets. By acting early businesses can improve relations with local civil society as well as anticipate potential changes in consumer preferences and environmental legislation.
Learn more in the Aquacross Business Brief.