It’s easy to become unsettled or disturbed by the news of our ever-destructing world.
I stare at the canvas of my screen trying to think of positive words, impact advice or a case study that shows us sustainability is possible for all. The reality is, as I sit here our world is hurting. My heart is hurting, and my mind is numb.
How do we find the motivation to wake daily and drive positive change amidst chaos? How do we find the inspiration to develop solutions whilst our forests burn, our lands flood and our people perish?
We are in an ever-shifting cultural, political and economic landscape. A place where leaders and governments do not yet provide a future of certainty or stability for the world we seek. Yet, so often we lack the confidence to believe that we, the people, can create any change. We can feel helpless in the face of crisis, and not understand the value of humanity and its power to effect change. The ability to endure against a common foe and fight at our core for the planet of the future.
It is our collective power as global citizens that shall turn the tides, disrupt the mundane and innovate tomorrow’s future. Where do we start?
At this moment the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been the framework of my professional life for five years, since their inception, and no doubt will remain so until we embark on the 2030 agenda. Interestingly, and maybe unbeknownst to me, these 17 goals also summarised and articulated the vision of the world that I personally want to embrace. As the blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all, the SDGs address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
The SDGs may be created by the United Nations, but the reality is that the implementation and success will be determined by the people for the people. By you for you. By you for your peers and by you for the generation to come.
I reflect on the words from the poet John Donne that struck me as a student but took me several decades to learn that we are all in this together and each play a crucial role:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” - John Donne
Together we need to leverage solutions; scale success stories and catalyse commitment to create dynamic impact, lasting change and shape a future, for people and planet, that we can be proud of.
We all have a cause that resonates within us and it is incremental steps in our daily lives, communities and actions that drive transformational change. Many of the business we’re working with right now have chosen one of the SDGs – or more – to address, focusing their attention on specific areas where they can improve things and create impact.
Lenzing, a signatory to the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, pledges to SDG13. It will become the first carbon neutral fibre producer in the world, by drastically reducing its CO2 footprint and improvement of energy efficiency and an increase in the share of renewable energy. Eileen Fisher aligns with SDG12 committing to circular design with RENEW – taking back over 1.4 million pieces of clothing since 2009. Ecommerce sites ReleveFashion and Aequem integrate SDG17 – partnerships to promote sustainable fashion brands, whilst also providing sales proceeds to charitable organisations driving social and environmental change.
Collectively, they are using less water and training people to increase their skills and focusing on circular economy models that create less waste.
I have no answer of where this journey will take us, but I know that it will be a collective journey. I know that when I cannot muster a skip in my step that it is the innovators and the believers of a better future that gives me the drive to redefine the world as we know it today.
Me. You. Us = A future that leaves no one behind.