Tiff's Tips #10 - United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

Jul 5, 2022

The United Nations have set a path forward for universities, industries and all of us to work toward 17 Sustainable Development Goals. What can we all do to make a difference?

Have you heard of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? If so, can you name all 17 of them? Seventeen surely is too many to recall. I mean, Snow White has 7 pals, and who can even name all of them?! 

I’m sure you’re also wondering “what do sustainable goals set by the United Nations have to do with me?” Glad you asked. Let’s explore these goals further and see what it could mean for you in your Sustainability Warrior journey. And don’t worry, no need to open up another internet tab -- we’ll also list all of Snow White’s buddies, as I know you’ve been furiously trying to do so in your head for the past 30 seconds. I suspect counting on fingers also happened for many of you…

But first, Sustainable Development Goals!

Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, members of the United Nations adopted a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda outlines a framework for achieving peace and prosperity for the planet and its people, now and into the future. At the heart of this framework are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs highlight the interconnectedness of strategies to end poverty, reduce inequalities, improve health and education, tackle climate change and preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDG's are also important to industry sustainability strategies around the world. It has become an expectation that responsible industry addresses these points directly.

SDGs and the University of Minnesota

Universities across the world hold a unique position in helping to achieve the SDGs. Through research, education and outreach, Universities drive progress on every SDG through technological advances, providing the next generation with the necessary skills and leadership, and engaging the public as a neutral and trusted stakeholder. 

For the University of Minnesota, work on the SDGs is achieved by investing in programs helping the people, communities, economies and businesses of Minnesota. Notably, U of M is focused on supporting centers and institutes across the University made up of interdisciplinary teams capable of developing and driving impactful research and outreach. And interdisciplinary research focused on the state of Minnesota is something NRRI knows all about!


Graphic image of UN goals with 8 highlighted to show NRRI impacts: Clean water and sanitation, Afforddable and clean energy, Industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, and life on land
NRRI is actively supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals in eight key areas.

With our strategic initiatives focused on ecosystem resilience, future forest industries, and iron and minerals of the future, we are well positioned to work towards 8 of the 17 SDGs. 

I’m not afforded a large enough word count here to possibly list all of the ways NRRI is engaged in the SDGs, and in the interest of not hurting colleagues feelings and playing favorites (because #WaterResearch for life), I highly suggest you spend time on NRRI’s snazzy website learning about some of our cool research projects and our expertise and capabilities. In short, there are a lot of folks with big brains helping to make the world a better place.

SDGs and YOU!

While the SDGs are focused at the larger scale of countries, industries and universities, each of us can contribute towards reaching the SDGs by 2030. By donating our time and volunteering with nonprofit organizations, we can help communities strive toward zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities, and climate action. Sustainable actions we take in our everyday life to minimize our carbon footprint, such as reducing our intake of plastics, shopping and eating locally, and conserving water on our property with simple tools like a rain barrel, all contribute to a variety of SDGs: life on land, life below water, responsible consumption, and clean water, to list a few.

Each of us serves a role in the places we work, the communities we live in, and among our networks of family and friends. By identifying opportunities where our personal values align with the Sustainable Development Goals, our paths to becoming a Sustainable Warrior doesn’t feel like extra effort, but just part of our identity. I look forward to hearing where your eco-journey takes you as we reach these goals together, as humankind.

Okay, thanks for sticking it out with me through my sappy blog. Here’s what you’re really looking for: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy.

Until next time,