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The vital role of individual action in achieving the ambitions of the SDGs.

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Finding the right way to start any project in life is often the hardest part and the rest flows from there - that's been my experience. Whether it's getting the most difficult or uneasy task out of the way first thing, I learn and build from there. Sustainability is everywhere in many forms. Whether people know what they're talking about, or simply referring to acronyms and jargon building their woke status - it's something many people struggle to understand how they can contribute and help make a difference. It starts with one ….. you!

In the face of regulatory changes, geo-political risks, and capital market shifts. Sustainable investing has evolved considerably beyond the days of Ethical considerations and Socially Responsible Investment. The rising prominence of ESG considerations reflects a wider 'sustainable transition’. As part of this transition, the ESG themes at the forefront of investment conversations are no longer limited to climate change, knowledge and action is further evolving to include the road to net zero. The social elements of ESG are now taking hold. Challenging our norms in health, diversity, inclusion, human rights, and our equitable right to, ensuring resilient and prosperous communities. The later propelled by the continuing dystopian events of the past 18 months and COVID-19.

“As a society we can look on these with a sense of foreboding, often tying ourselves in knots trying to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. This gives the added challenge of – how do we start?” - Jon Kinnell

I came across a really interesting article by Solitaire Townsend [1], a Forbes contributor and Co-Founder of the change agency Futerra [2], back in 2018. The article was interesting in the sense it highlights the link between consumerism and the influence of brand and cause related marketing [3]. But also referenced the Good Life Goals [4].

What are the Good Life Goals I hear you ask?

 People around the world are becoming increasingly familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but how many of us really know what we can do to reach them? The Good Life Goals represent an effort to answer this question and help a global audience to recognize the vital role of individual action in achieving the SDGs. The Good Life Goals layout 85 ways WE as individuals can take this first step and contribute towards the huge, planet-changing objectives that sit at the heart of the SDG agenda. What can YOU do as an individual?

SDG 1: No Poverty

Learn the causes of poverty at home and abroad
Share and donate what you can
Buy from companies that pay people fairly
Save, borrow and invest responsibly
Demand decent wages and opportunities for all

SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Headline Goal: EAT BETTER

Learn how we farm, fish and make our food
Enjoy more fruits & vegetables
Buy local, seasonal and fairly traded food
Help children, elderly people and pregnant women to eat well
Demand an end to global hunger

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
Headline Goal: STAY WELL

Learn about, and share, ways to stay healthy
Wash your hands and exercise regularly
Stay safe on or near roads
Value mental health and well-being
Demand medical care and vaccinations for all

SDG 4: Quality Education
Headline Goal: LEARN AND TEACH

Keep learning throughout life
Teach kids kindness
Help girls and boys stay in school
Support teachers and keep schools open
Defend everyone’s right to an education

SDG 5: Gender Equality

Learn and share ways to end sexism
Raise kids to expect equality
Respect the men and women who care for families
Defend women’s reproductive rights
Oppose violence against women and girls

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Headline Goal: SAVE WATER

Learn why clean water matters
Don’t flush any trash or toxic chemicals
Report and fix leaks – big or small
Save water when brushing your teeth, washing and cleaning
Defend people’s right to clean water and a toilet

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Find out where your energy comes from
Save energy wherever you can
Use renewable energy for heat, light and power
Buy from companies powered by renewable energy
Demand clean, affordable energy for everyone

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Headline Goal: DO GOOD WORK

Learn family finance skills
Demand safe working conditions
Check no-one was exploited to make what you buy
Support local businesses at home and abroad
Stand up for everyone’s rights at work

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Learn about plans for progress in your country
Stay smart and kind online
Support construction that benefits people and protects the planet
Welcome innovations that make the world a better place
Demand the benefits from progress are shared

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
Headline Goal: BE FAIR

Stay open-minded, listen and learn from others
Support leaders who reduce inequality
Protect and welcome the vulnerable
Buy from companies that pay tax and treat people fairly
Stand up for your rights, and the rights of others

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Learn about, and take part in, local decisions
Prepare for emergencies
Get to know your neighbours and welcome new people
Protect local trees, wildlife and natural areas
Demand safe and good quality public transport


SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Headline Goal: LIVE BETTER

Learn about sustainable development
Reuse, repair, recycle, share and borrow
Waste less food and use leftovers
Collect friends and experiences, not just things
Demand that businesses respect people and planet

SDG 13: Climate Action
Headline Goal: ACT ON CLIMATE

Learn about climate solutions
Call for more renewable energy in your country
Eat more plants and cut down on meat
Walk and cycle rather than drive
Demand leaders take bold climate action today

SDG 14: Life Under Water
Headline Goal: CLEAN OUR SEAS

Learn about life in our seas and oceans
Remember that litter ends up in the water
Say no to unnecessary plastic
Buy sustainable fish and seafood
Demand leaders end ocean pollution

SDG 15: Life on Land
Headline Goal: LOVE NATURE

Discover the wonders of the natural world
Protect native plants and animals
Never buy products made from endangered wildlife
Support companies that protect and restore nature
Speak up for threatened forests and natural places

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Headline Goal: MAKE PEACE

Learn about and use your rights
Be kind and tolerant
Resist corruption and abuse of power
Support the institutions that support people
Stand up for fairness and peace

SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals
Headline Goal: COME TOGETHER

Discover and share the Sustainable Development Goals
Support those who bring us together
Celebrate the progress we’ve already made
Get involved and volunteer in your community
Help make tomorrow better than today

Who’s behind the Good Life Goals?

The Goals have been shaped through a number of stakeholders, primarily though, a collaboration between Futerra itself and the 10YFP Sustainable Lifestyles and Education program[5].An initiative led by the governments of Sweden and Japan represented by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). As well as the UN Environment Agency, UNESCO, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Increasingly cause-related-marketing, sustainability or CSR activities of brands promote what the company is doing, portrayed as the change-maker as opposed to helping the consumer to make an informed decision. Relegating the public to mere ‘spectators’ and therefore not involved or inactive. Could this be part of the problem in taking action!

The 85 actions in the Good Life Goals remind us that people power matters as much as powerful people. And brands have a huge potential to unleash that positive impact. Brands can influence our behaviours, aspirations, our insecurities and even our definition of success and happiness. That creative power is potent. Yet we, the consumer should be responsible for our actions – and take action leveraging our consumer power and entrepreneurial activity for the Good Life Goals. We should call out poor corporate behaviour and demand the products and services that help consumers live a sustainable lifestyle.

At every opportunity remember, your consumerism has the right to change the world for the better – how are you going to help her?


To dig deeper into how personal actions can support the 17 SDGs, find the information and resources here.
Also, refer to our impact article on SDGs to get an overview of
17 Sustainable Development Goals.