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Taking Action for the Sustainable Development Goals

Kirjoittanut: Thais Santos Araujo - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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Taking Action for the Sustainable Development Goals


The word sustainability is everywhere. But what is sustainability? Many people might answer this question as “sustainability is to take care of the environment.” That’s a guess, for sure. Still, there is a better and more accurate way to express what this word means. The most straightforward form to understand and be able to remember the meaning of sustainability word in the future is to think about its origin. Sustainability comes from sustainable which comes from sustain. Is sustainability the same as sustaining? Almost. To sustain means to support or keep up something, among other meanings. Sustainability, in turn, means the “ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level” (Oxford, 1989.) Even if their meanings in the dictionary are not exactly the same, they are close enough to make this parallel thought. Now, every time one is asked what sustainability means, this person can think about the idea of sustaining something. Having this thought well set from the beginning of any sustainable-related discussion brings richness to the conversation.

Once it is settled on what sustainability means, it is time to get deeper into its possibilities. In multiple contexts, for example, in business, sustainability is divided into three pillars. Social, financial, and environmental. The participation of the environmental pillar is so active in recent years that it might be the reason many people automatically connect sustainability with saving the planet. Well, environmental sustainability is highly relevant, needs attention, and should always be a topic on the table. If there is no Earth, there is no business. What about the social and financial? What means to have a socially sustainable business? Again, focusing on the idea of sustaining something, it is easy to imagine what a business needs to do to be socially sustainable. It is all about how the company treats the clients, employees, and the community. It is to not have your people at risk. It is to understand the effect the work has on the people involved in all the processes (ADEC Innovations, 2017.) Financial sustainability follows the same “sustaining” rules. It is about not only starting and being profitable but also maintaining, sustaining, financially the business in the long run. Planning and tracking step by step the financial health of the company.

Sustainability is clear. The three pillars of business context are covered. What about the Sustainable Development Goals? A little of history: The UN (United Nations) in 2015 gathered its members to sign the 2030 Agenda. It is a contract assuming responsibility and actions to improve peace and better days for people and the Earth by developing 17 sustainable goals. It is a massive call for action of everyone working together for common goals. It is about making things to be fair not only for one’s own family and community but for all. It is about looking up other than looking only one’s own around. This is not an unprecedented event. In 1998, for example, the UN gathered all its members in Brazil to sign Agenda 21. Again, all nations are putting effort into improving people’s lives and the earth’s resources (United Nations, 2018.)


There are 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to act on. How can the “teampreneurs” support this big deal? Watching from a distant perspective it might look like the problems are way too big and there is nothing an entrepreneurship student in Finland could do. Well, it is the perfect environment and safe opportunity to be creative and act. Taking as an example only one of the goals. Goal number 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. It is true that Finland does excellent in these sectors. Still, during the pandemic time, 255 million people lost their full-time job. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect area to innovate? Where there is a large problem, there’s a large market. What about the tourism sector which fell from 1.5 billion in 2019 to 381 million in 2020? (United Nations, 2018.) There is a lot to be done. This text is only a first sight to this world of possibilities. And more important than getting interested in the huge market needing attention, it is important to have the view discussed previously. It is about wishing the world to be fair not only for one’s community and family but to everyone.



ADEC Innovations. 2017. What is Social Sustainability? Read on 04.05.2022. https://www.adecesg.com/resources/faq/what-is-social-sustainability/#:~:text=Social%20sustainability%20is%20a%20proactive,with%20people%2C%20communities%20and%20society.

 Mollenkamp, D. 2021. Sustainability Definition. Read on 04.06.2022. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sustainability.asp

 United Nations. THE 17 GOALS. Read on 04.05.2022. https://sdgs.un.org/goals


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