Business and Sustainability
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The attainment of Sustainable Development Goals is one of the key aims in every company in different countries. However, this is not the case for a variety of companies as some of them consider SDGs a long list of wishes rather than goals that in one way or another pose a difficult challenge to attain. Sustainable Development Goals, commonly abbreviated as SDGs, represent a collection of 17 global goals that are designed by 193 member states of the United Nations to act as blueprints in the achievement of a better and more sustainable tomorrow for every individual (Hák et al. 565). In addition, the SGDs act new set of goals which embody the United Nations member state’s political policies and national agendas until 2030. Developed with the pledge to leave no country and its people behind, the SDGs are designed with the common purpose of improving the lives of individuals by bringing to an end hunger, AIDS, poverty, the discrimination of girls and women around the world (Bule and Cristina 119). With sustainable development goals being the key to achieving a hunger free, AIDS free, poverty free, and discrimination of girls and women free environment around the world, it is therefore the responsibility of every company to adopt roles such invention and innovation and implement actions such as investing in government that will contribute towards the achievement of these Millennium development goals. In this paper, the role that Walmart plays in enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of SDGs is explored. Like every other green company with an agenda to bring about positive changes in the world, Walmart’s role continues to be shaped in a way that also works towards better outcomes for people through bringing an end to poverty, ensuring no hunger, overall wellbeing and good health, gender equality, quality education, sanitization goals, and other human related agendas embodied in the SDG objectives.
The role of companies in ensuring that global goals and objectives are met cannot be underestimated because of the power they hold in an economy. For example, companies like Walmart have the power to bring about positive changes in their direct environments. In the current COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart has shown this power by changing how people do shopping and ensuring that older citizens and disabled people continue to have uninterrupted supply of food and healthcare, thus bringing people welfare (Walmart n.p.). As the world continues to go through changes and adapt to these, companies cannot sit by and watch as people are affected. Recent research ideas suggest that it is imperative that companies should be first in line towards embracing sustainable development goals as a useful reporting framework for their sustainability development efforts (Hák et al. 567). With flourishing societies comes flourishing business successes, a concept that will be used to measure the welfare of societies against the contributing companies in the near future. The achievement of sustainable development goals creates an environment of thriving stakeholders or societies in which organizations providing goods and services depend for their success and survival. As a result, it therefore the responsibility of companies to embrace and adopt various actions and roles that contribute towards sustainable development goals (Bule and Cristina 119). Therefore, the role of companies in ensuring that global goals and objectives, such as SDGs, are met remains imperative and a critical determinant of success in the future.
For Walmart, sustainable development and supporting sustainable development goals means the adoption of business strategies as well as activities that are intended at meeting enterprise needs as well as the welfare of the stakeholders, particularly the society in which the organization operates. Therefore, activities such as protecting, enhancing and sustaining the natural and human resources that are all important for the future are all important. From the way Walmart handles its interaction with the SDGs and different means to attain it, it is clear that an engagement with these global goals represents a crucial opportunity for new investments, partnerships, and markets. Therefore, businesses that engage in different activities and policies in support of SDGs create opportunities for their own future, including better relationships, more networking with potential partners, and a possibility of scoring better with the consumers. Walmart, aware of this fact, has spearheaded several campaigns that aim at ensuring the SDGs are met through its supply chain management and other critical activity processes. If Walmart is successful in helping to attain these SDG objectives, then the environmental performance would improve and the risks for businesses in the near future would be reduced. For example, by ensuring reduced use and the consequent elimination of single-use plastics, Walmart would significantly reduce risks relating to biodiversity loss, including a possible ban of use of plastics in packaging or even stricter rules relating to how they produce plastics. Such a move would enable the fir to not only improve the future for other people but also ensure that it opens up opportunities for better market performance in the future. If the government decides to impose taxes on plastics in the near future, then all businesses would suffer. Therefore, participating in SDG attainment could help to make it better for the business environment in the future.
Companies have roles that contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Invention and innovation is one of the major roles that companies should embrace towards the SDGs (Rashed and Afzal 9). Invention and innovation of new technologies which are crucial for economic growth and development leads to increases in productivity, creation of wealth as well as the economic well-being. In this front, companies such as Microsoft have led the way in ensuring that communities in the developing world have access to water and good sanitation. Additionally, invention and innovations also promotes transformation of economies creating jobs that help reduce cases of poverty and hunger. Walmart has also played a vital role in ensuring that communities are better off, in terms of innovative ideas and creative solutions. For example, by using sustainability innovations in the production process, Walmart has been a critical part of green innovations to ensure that there is considerable elimination of emissions and waste, sourcing responsibly, restoring nature, and selling sustainable products. While these can be interpreted as marketing goals, they are also important in meeting the SDG objectives of making a better world through reduced pollution. It is also evident that the invention and innovation role of companies helps toward SDGs by reducing climate change through creation of technologies that are environmental friendly.
Investing in governments through payment of taxes is one of the major actions taken by companies to contribute in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (Bule and Cristina 119). Investments play a significant role in raising standards of living especially through creation of jobs, development of skills and technology, and distribution of wealth. Therefore, through investments, companies are able to provide opportunities such as jobs that help avoid case of hunger and poverty thus contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. However, irresponsible business activities that are carried out illegally without payment of taxes erode both investment and business environments. As a result, this leads to environmental degradation, economic loss, injuries, deaths, and poor labor conditions all of which result to increased poverty and hunger. Responsible business practices such as payment of taxes result to government investment in various sectors which in one way or another contribute to the achievement of SDGs (Bule and Cristina 119). By investing in the mandate to pay taxes, businesses such as Walmart effectively trigger a trickledown effect where better management of resources can be achieved through the available funds. It would be easier for governments to focus on ensuring that the SDGs are met if all companies paid taxes on time and as required. Therefore, investing in society and governments through payment of taxes is one of the major actions taken by companies to contribute in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals
Lobbying for actions that contribute towards the achievement of SDGs is another major action that companies can adopt to contribute towards the attainment of these goals (Hák et al. 565). The power held by companies in terms of the decisions made by a society through governments cannot be underestimated. They hold a lot of power because of how they support economies and wellbeing of many people. Business entities around the world have significance influence on government policies, politicians, and political processes. With such amount of influence, it is advisable for companies to adopt lobbying as one of the major actions in addressing SDGs. For instance, a company can lobby for various policies and strategies that accelerate towards the transition into a low carbon economy. Walmart can use its position to influence local governance and trough initiating programs that would be taken up by other institutions relating to better implementation and follow up of matters relating to the attainment of SDGs. Additionally, Walmart, through its large size and influence, can provide support in the election of politicians and individuals with platforms that contribute to the achievement of SDGs for instance, the Green New Deal which supports all Sustainable Development Goals (Bule and Cristina 119). By lobbying for low carbon economy, companies are able to protect the environment against pollution thus reducing cases of drought and hunger brought about by climate change.
Investing in SDGs friendly companies is another major action that a company should take in order to contribute in the achievement of these Millennium development goals (Schramade 90).Big financial companies such as State Street, Vanguard, and Blackrock manage billions of dollars of investment in companies. Pension fund companies invest in member contributions while organizations such as banks invest in depositors’ money. By investing such amount of money in Sustainable Development Goals friendly companies, these companies will able to provide a boost in SDG progress. By ensuring proactive sustainable finances in support of SDG-friendly companies, this will lead to a low carbon emission and an SDG compliant economy (Bule and Cristina 119). Therefore, Walmart can partner ad invest in SDGs friendly companies as a way of indirectly contributing to the welfare of others in different societies.
Purpose driven impactful business models provide companies with an opportunity to create social and environmental values through their products, services, and restorative operational business practices that aid others contribute towards the achievement of SDGs (Hák et al. 567). For instance, they may manufacture and install affordable solar panels which help organizations and societies at large reduce their carbon emission footprint in support of achieving SDGs through the clean and affordable energy. In addition, a company can also support SDGs by reducing poverty through the use of fair trade supply chains which provide an opportunity for decent work for the underserved populations. On the other hand, companies such as banks can provide preferential rates to borrowers who work and commit to the Sustainable Development Goals. It is therefore imperative for a company to adopt the SDGs impactful business models as one of the actions in addressing these global goals (Bule and Cristina 119). With an efficient and effective business model, the positive effects that a company will have in the society would directly contribute towards better attainment and implementation of SDGs through better salaries, affordable living, reduced poverty, and other critical elements.
Despite the different roles that companies globally are expected to perform in regard to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, there are various companies that are already performing different roles towards attainment of SDGs. For instance, companies such as KPMG believe that by using their corporate citizenship programs they are able to focus on both education and lifelong learning of individuals and thereby contributing to the attainment of SDGs. Bearing this in mind, it therefore clear that there are various companies that believe in performing various roles in regard to attainment of SDGs. Additionally, this also indicates the actions taken by KPMG as a company on its own in addressing and contributing towards attainment of SDGs which in this case is inclusive, equitable, and quality education for individuals. Other companies such as Walmart have been working with other organizations in providing a positive and suitable impact across worldwide supply chains. Walmart’s sustainability efforts is based on prioritizing the planet and its inhabitants by seeking to source responsibility, eradicate emission and wastes by selling sustainable products that not only protect but restore nature. In so doing, Walmart is able to contribute to the attainment of SDGs by protecting the environment (climate), life on land, and below water by reducing cases of pollution (Walmart).
In conclusion, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are global goals that call for a universal plan of action to bring to an end hunger and poverty while also providing protection to the planet. Bearing this in mind, it is therefore the role of companies to come up with different strategies such as invention and innovation that aid in reducing these challenges and help achieve SGDs in every context. Additionally, companies also have the responsibility to take various actions that address and contribute towards the SDGs. These actions include, investing in government through payment of taxes, lobbying for action on the Sustainable Development Goals, and the provision of investments to companies that are SDG friendly. Therefore, it is only through these roles and actions that companies can contribute towards the SDGs which are designed to bring the world to a safety and more habitable place.
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