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Kickstarting Your ESG Sustainability Goals

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday in January and is thought to be the most depressing day of the year. The return to normality after the fun of the festive period coupled with exhausted bank accounts and the bleak winter weather makes it a long, miserable month – culminating in this aptly named date. That's why, despite this, the beginning of the year is a good time to set ESG sustainability goals.

Here we share the thoughts of Joe Oughtred, co-founder of Axiom Consultancy as we look at how to get started with ESG and sustainability and consider something known as the Blue Economy, explaining what it is and why it’s significant.

Read on to find out more about this ocean orientated issue, and how practicing ESG sustainability can help make your businesses be more environmentally friendly whilst contributing to the aims of the SDGs.

ESG Sustainability – Setting New Goals

January is a quiet month for many businesses, making it the ideal time to plan and set goals for the year ahead. Moving forward, sustainability is set to be more important than ever and the pressure is on for organisations to show what they’re doing to reduce their environmental impact, achieve Net Zero and be compliant with the latest ESG expectations.

So, whilst it may be tempting to succumb to the doom and gloom of all of the prevailing economic and business challenges, it’s useful to stay positive and take advantage of any time available to consider how your business can increase its efficiency and become more sustainable in the new year.

The Blue Economy – What Is It?

The colour green has traditionally been associated with the environment – 'going green' is a popular term used to reference a move towards being more environmentally friendly.

Recently, however, a new colour has become associated with certain environmental issues – namely 'The Blue Economy.' This is described as an economic system or sector that seeks to conserve marine or freshwater environments, while using them in a sustainable way to progress economic growth and produce resources such as energy and food.

A Wave of Problems

Covering approximately 70.8% of the surface of the Earth and containing 97% of its water, the ocean is one of the world’s largest and most valuable natural resources.

In addition to being an essential part of the food-supply chain, the ocean is a crucial route for trade and travel. It’s valuable to people and businesses across the globe, and it plays an important role in a diverse range of industries from fishing through to oil, energy, tourism and beyond.

Despite this, the ocean is not being used sustainably and its future is at risk. Oil spills, pollution, habitat destruction, single-use plastic waste and climate change are all affecting the sea in adverse ways, endangering wildlife and changing the surrounding landscape in irreversible ways.

UN SDG 14 – Life Below Water

These threats have been acknowledged by climate change activists and by the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Set up in 2015, these are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future and are intended to be achieve by 2030.

The dangers the ocean is facing has been given a dedicated goal, specifically SDG Goal 14 entitled 'Life Below Water' which aims to 'conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.'

If organisations are to advance their sustainability and operate in ways which are more mindful of the planet, it’s imperative that they take into consideration the SDGs and consider which ones relate to their operations and aims.

Working towards these SDGs creates shared value for stakeholders, fosters the right professional relationships and can also improve the efficiency of many businesses – especially when also participating in the likes other environmentally and ethically orientated practices like ESG.

ESG and SDGs – Welcoming a Sustainable Future

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG). These three different areas are foundations to sustainability – and the standards a business sets in these areas are the criteria that sustainability credentials are assessed against.

This encourages businesses to be more ethical and environmentally friendly right across their operations. As a result, it’s inextricably linked to many of the aims outlined by the individual SDGs as they both have shared interests and can effectively work in parallel.

About the Contributor: Joe Oughtred is the co-founder of Axiom, a consultancy that specialises in sustainability and supply chains underpinned by a powerful cloud-based platform that helps businesses monitor, analyse and improve sustainability performance in order to achieve its sustainability goals.


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