May 29, 2022

The Manufacturing Industry Should Support the UN SDGs

The manufacturing industry has many ways to improve the lives of those who face significant challenges in meeting the basic needs of themselves and their families. Manufacturing leaders wanting to positively impact those in need can use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as guidance.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Last week, we looked at a manufacturing operation's benefits by using the B Impact Assessment from B Lab as their business operating system.  B Lab has further improved its impact potential by integrating the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the B Impact Assessment.  There is a strong alignment between the SDGs and the humanist manufacturing framework.

"Some 8.5 million people have made their voice heard to the United Nations" – Ban Ki-moon
Shifting the Approach

The United Nations had received significant complaints that high-level delegates developed the UN Millennium Goals behind closed doors.  They listened to this feedback and included civil society members, giving them unprecedented access during each SDG’s development round.  The result was the participation of 8.5 million people over the various rounds who knew what we as a society need to do collectively to help those with the greatest needs.

The UN SDGs    

The 17 SDGs  are:

Goal 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

• Goal 2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

• Goal 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

• Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

• Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

• Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

• Goal 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

• Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

• Goal 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

• Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

• Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

• Goal 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

• Goal 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

• Goal 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

• Goal 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

• Goal 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

• Goal 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

It is unlikely that a manufacturing operation will take on all 17 goals.  However, I encourage all manufacturing leaders to incorporate a few where they can make a notable impact on improving the lives of the less fortunate.

The SDG Action Manager

Those who accept the call to make a positive impact can utilize the SDG Action Manager, a free web-based impact management solution built through B Lab and the United Nations Global Impact collaboration.  The tool allows businesses to focus on their organization's individual SDG goals of importance.  In addition, this tool guides them toward internal reflection and development of specific actions.  Several of the UN SDGs align well with the humanist commitments and work to achieve the vision of "The manufacturing industry allows each citizen of the world an opportunity to meet at a minimum their needs for just and healthy lives, with a full opportunity to achieve their highest potential."

Key Takeaway

The manufacturing industry has many ways to improve the lives of those who face significant challenges in meeting the basic needs of themselves and their families.  Manufacturing leaders wanting to positively impact those in need can use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as guidance.  In addition, a continuing theme is that organizations that adopt environmental and social initiatives also benefit from the positive financial impact.

Next Step

Those interested in learning more about how to implement UN SDGs into their operational strategy can utilize the Technical Guide developed in a partnership between B Lab and the UN Global Compact.  The guide helps define a starting point and several additional steps to support a company in implementing SDGs.  

My Gratitude

I am grateful for the work of the United Nations.  Unfortunately, some criticize the organization for what may be valid issues.  However, the collective 193 Member States continue on working to maintain peace, economic and social development, and fight climate change in a complex change environment.  We need all the help we can get in this regard in a troubling world.  

Sneak Peek

Next week's blog will look at the benefits of integrating lean manufacturing into the humanist manufacturing framework.  

To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Contact me if you need help with the manufacturing support services of consulting, coaching, Fractional Chief Sustainability Officer, or training/reskilling at 734-664-9076.

See my virtual TEDx Videos at Reinventing the Prison Industrial Complex and Humanist Manufacturing.

You can sign up for my newsletter or send me an email at: Contact Me

Cover Image Credit: Hitesh Choudhary on Pexels

View listing
let's get to work

Get in touch with us today.

Are you a leader who knows that change is necessary? Do you need support in achieving meaningful the results you’re looking for? Emmanuel Strategic Sustainability is the firm that can help make your goals a reality.
Let's get started!