25 September 2018
A blog by Katharine Teague, AB Sugar’s Head of Advocacy
Today AB Sugar joins individuals, governments and other organisations and businesses around the world to support the UN’s Global Day of Action; #ACT4SDGs. On the birthday of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this day gives an opportunity to reflect on the 17 individual goals with a total of 169 targets to be achieved by 2030 and the role we have to play as a business in addressing them.
I was in the lucky position in a previous role at an NGO to be involved in the early discussions to influence the development of the goals working with governments, the UN and other partners to create an ambitious universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Now working for a world leading sugar business, I am excited that we are taking up the challenge that the SDGs offer to play a role in being an engine of economic growth and employment in our rural communities as well as a partner to support finance, technology and innovation in the sugar sector across our operations.
A sugar industry first
We launched our first ever sustainability commitments in April 2018, mirroring the 2030 timeframe for the SDGs. These commitments were the first of their kind in the sugar industry which sets out our plan for how we will continually improve our sustainability performance and that of our supply chain over the next decade. As well as fitting with the SDG agenda, the commitments also support our sustainability framework; Global Mind, Local Champions – empowering our businesses to decide how they will each contribute to their commitments that best fit the opportunities and challenges in their own countries.
Contributing towards the SDGs
As part of our participation in #ACT4SDGs this year, we have mapped out how our 2030 commitments match up against the SDGs and their targets. For example, our commitment to “build vibrant, diverse value chains that increase the prosperity of our communities” covers a broad range of areas, including: rural economies and employment, training and development of staff, no discrimination and using technology and innovation. Our businesses are also considering how their sustainability activities map against the SDGs, for example Azucarera.
SDG 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ its target 17.17 sits across all of our commitments which reflects our belief that just as the SDGs cannot be achieved by a single actor, we will only achieve our ambitions if we partner with like-minded and innovative organisations. We already have a long successful history in working with partners to address some of our longstanding sustainability issues (such as land rights in Africa) and we want to build on this progress to help us focus on improving our performance by 2030.
AB Sugar and our businesses are committed to playing a part in the SDG story and I would encourage everyone to.