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The Sustainable Development Goals: A framework to drive CSR for all

iStock / Getty Images Plus / BartekSzewczyk

Ian Talbot

Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

Poverty eradication, access to quality education and reducing inequality and are just some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations Member States. In total, there are 17 Global Goals that provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

The SDGs can serve as ambitious yet also practical goals for businesses to strive towards. They can act as an important tool for driving Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for businesses through aligning CSR initiatives with the targets of the SDGs, while providing perspective on the wide-ranging global and social issues that businesses’ actions can help to address. The broad scope of the SDGs allows businesses and their employees an opportunity to make an impact in a variety of different ways.

Chambers across Ireland are encouraging sustainable development

In every major town, city and region in the country, there is a chamber. Each chamber strives to develop sustainable and economically vibrant communities, which puts us in the position to positively impact engagement with the SDGs throughout Ireland.

We have instilled a strong CSR culture within our membership, evolving from simple volunteering to extensive cross-organisational programmes. We are now working with our members to embrace SDG actions relevant to their businesses with the same enthusiasm and commitment they have displayed on CSR for the betterment of our local and national communities, creating a prosperous future for all while protecting the environment.

This year, on the fourth anniversary of the launch of the goals, Chambers Ireland and our network of Chambers resolved to collectively sign a national SDG charter, representing our pledge to support the implementation of the SDGs across all of our activities. We will champion these goals through our policy work and our internal company culture.

Council supports UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development

Chambers Ireland has established a Sustainable Business Council, which works to further align and engage our members, using the SDGs as a tool to drive increased participation in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The council’s outputs feed directly into our overall SDG outputs for business, as do the outputs from our global organisation, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The ICC is the only business organisation that has observer status at the UN, achieved in particular for its commitment to contribute directly to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This global reach and connectivity makes us capable of promoting the SDGs in the business community across Ireland.

Chambers Ireland is Ireland’s largest business organisation with a network of Chambers across every major town, city and region in the country. We facilitate the growth and long-term development of sustainable and resilient communities on behalf of our members.

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