“We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.” (United Nations A/RES/70/1, 2015, p. 3)
“People” is maybe one of the oldest concerns in development, and it includes some of the goals that may be most recognized by the public when they think about development. Order is not a signal of importance, but it doesn´t escape anyone´s understanding that Goals one, two, three, four and five hold an important significance for sustainable progress.
Achieving a world without extreme poverty (SDG1), without hunger (SDG2), where everyone has access to health (SDG3) and education (SDG4), irrespective of their gender (SDG5) has been a long-standing goal for citizens, governments and international institutions. At its core, these SDGs represent a modern retelling of traditional development efforts that started with an early focus on what is less meaningful but easier to track (monetary measures of poverty), but have moved on to more sophisticated metrics that better incorporate how people live their lives.
We cannot hope to meaningfully transform our societies while other fellow human beings, near and far, lack the necessities to live a decent life. It may be tempting to leave it up to NGOs, charity or the state to take care of those left behind, but the SDGs remind us that we all have a role to play, including companies of all sizes.
And, in turn, we all have a responsibility in redefining the role of businesses in our world. The SDGs need to be incorporated in how businesspersons see the world and their obligation to society. They need to feel called to action. One of the essays in this section puts it in a beautiful way, talking about sixteen firms “that were more than just a business”, helping the world achieve SDG2.
AIM2Flourish presents us with cases of hope, engagement and responsibility. Some of the stories you will read about start with a person, in a moment, deciding to make a change. And that´s really it. Each of us, in our personal and professional lives, realizing that we are part of a larger community that stretches over oceans and drylands. That shift in mindset will move us to demand responsibility for businesses, so they too do their part.
The reflections in this section give us cause for celebration. Young business students from three continents have analyzed companies that look beyond shareholders to see all the stakeholders involved in their operations and, with their actions, help make the world a better place for the people who live in it. I hope you´ll find the first five chapters of the book inspiring. Enjoy!
Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo, PhD
Economics Department, School of Economics and Business, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
United Nations A/RES/70/1. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org