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What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

Updated: Apr 15

To begin to understand the UN sustainable development goals, let's take a quick look at 'SUSTAINABILITY' and what it actually means:

Sustainability refers to the practice of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It involves balancing economic, environmental, and social factors to ensure long-term well-being and the preservation of natural resources. In the context of environmental sustainability, it means reducing the negative impact on the environment caused by human activities, such as pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions. It involves conserving resources, promoting renewable energy sources, and adopting eco-friendly practices to minimize ecological harm. Economic sustainability focuses on maintaining a stable and thriving economy over the long term. This includes promoting fair trade, responsible business practices, and supporting industries that contribute to societal well-being. It also involves avoiding excessive consumption and waste, as well as fostering innovation and efficiency in resource use. Social sustainability involves ensuring that communities are inclusive, resilient, and able to meet the needs of their members. It encompasses considerations such as social equity, human rights, access to education and healthcare, and the promotion of a just and fair society. Social sustainability aims to create a society where everyone has equal opportunities and a high quality of life. Overall, sustainability seeks to find a balance between the needs of the present and the needs of future generations, considering the interconnectedness of economic, environmental, and social factors. By adopting sustainable practices, we strive to create a world where current and future generations can thrive in harmony with nature and each other.

It all started in 2015 when the United Nations created a roadmap to resolve many of the worlds challenges, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG’s) are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future" and are designed to be achieved by 2030. They are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. Many businesses are now using the goals to help them align with their environmental, social and governance strategies, helping the transition into a safer more, equitable world.

Here is a summary of each goal:

1. No Poverty*: End poverty in all its forms and ensure equal rights and access to basic services for all people.

2. Zero Hunger*: Achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

3. Good Health and Well-Being*: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, with a focus on maternal and child health.

4. Quality Education*: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and promote lifelong learning opportunities.

5. Gender Equality*: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation*: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

7. Affordable and Clean Energy*: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

8. Decent Work & Economic Growth*: Promote sustained, inclusive, & sustainable economic growth, full productive employment & decent work for all.

9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

10. Reduced Inequalities*: Reduce inequality within and among countries, and ensure equal opportunities for all.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production*: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

13. Climate Action*: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

14. Life Below Water*: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

15. Life on Land*: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss, and combat desertification and land degradation.

16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

17. Partnerships for the Goals*: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

These goals address a wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues, and their achievement requires collaborative efforts from governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals worldwide. By working together towards these goals, it is hoped that we can create a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world for present and future generations. Trees4Travels work currently aims to support up to 13* of these goals! By partnering with Trees4Travel, travel companies and travellers can measure their emissions impact, our technology then simply translates trips and events into trees, the most powerful absorbers of carbon emissions - tangible, simple, affordable, impactful. By growing trees in developing countries, we are also restoring eco-systems, biodiversity, supporting local communities and alleviating poverty. Reforestation will help reverse climate change, but trees can be fragile and take time to grow, so to ensure carbon emissions are removed as quickly as possible, we also always assign each tree to a United Nations Certified Emissions Reduction renewable energy program, essentially doubling our promise. Join us to find out more.

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