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Created by The United Nations, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future.” Encompassing the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, and peace and justice, each goal comes with a clear call to action, as well as a rationale for why it matters so much. 

The aim is to achieve all these SDGs by the year 2030. 2023 marked the halfway point between the launch of the goals and this deadline—which makes now a good time to review how far we’ve all come, and how businesses like yours can help us get over the line.

A female migrant worker looks to camera, smiling.How can Sustainable Development Goals benefit my business?

In the long term, all businesses, regardless of their current level of stability, stand to gain from undertaking some or all of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is because the topics that concern the SDGs directly impact businesses globally, such as material shortages due to climate change, as well as hiring challenges because of the skills shortages that result from limited development opportunities. However, there are immediate benefits companies can take advantage of too:

  • Better brand image – Companies dedicated to achieving SDGs show their commitment to their community, society, and the world as a whole. This can have a positive impact on how customers, investors, and employees view them.
  • Improved employer branding – Companies who pursue SDGs have a purpose beyond their own strategic goals that can help attract candidates and engage their existing workforce.
  • Reduced costs  – Some of the SDGs, such as Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy and Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption support more efficient use of resources. While this will eventually result in communities with shortages having more access to materials and energy, businesses can immediately benefit by reducing their overheads through more efficient use of resources. 
  • Enhanced supply chain resilience This also ties in with goal 12, as more responsible consumption will not only reduce costs, but reduce your reliance on certain suppliers, too. For example, a hospitality company that sources local produce where possible will reduce the need for imported food items, thus lessening the impact of supply chain disruptions due to climate change and geopolitical tensions. 

How to set and achieve your Sustainable Development Goals

Businesses can have a positive effect on each and every one of the Sustainable Development Goals when they identify key areas where they can make a difference. But, depending on your industry, the impact your business can make on certain goals may be great or minimal. 

For example, hospitality businesses that support sustainable, local farming will have a greater effect on the goal of Zero Hunger than a construction firm would. Similarly, the SDG of Responsible Consumption and Production has greater potential in the hands of a manufacturing company, compared to that of an e-commerce one.

It is important to note, however, that there are some SDGs where every business, regardless of sector, can see tangible results. 

Goal 5: Gender Equality

In recent years, the UAE government has made important reforms, with the new domestic violence protections under the Family Protection Policy being a case in point. Furthermore, in 2020, a law was passed stipulating women receive equal pay to men who perform the same work.

But here’s the ugly truth: Globally, Baby Boomers are more likely to view feminism in a positive light than Gen Zers. That means people in their 70s are more open to the idea of women having equal rights than our future political and thought leaders.

As a business, you can get us closer to the SDG of Gender Equality by:

  • Committing to appointing women in leadership roles
  • Providing women access to educational and development tools and pathways
  • Facilitating women’s progress with good maternity leave policies and support for issues unique to women

How can you advance Gender Equality?

Even if you’re invested in the equal rights of your female employees, it doesn’t mean that everyone in your organisation feels the same. At all levels, women may experience discrimination simply on the basis of their sex. It’s therefore crucial to implement Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policies that include education on gender equality, so that all your people want to champion women as much as you do.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The UN defines decent work as, “opportunities for everyone to get work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration.”

It also says that achieving Goal 8 “will require a wholesale reform of the financial system to tackle rising debts, economic uncertainty and trade tensions, while promoting equitable pay and decent work for young people.”

The UAE has made some strides in this area, with the establishment of the Wage Protection System (WPS) in 2009 helping to emphasise the importance of financial inclusion. But even with each and every one of your employees on your bankroll, there is more your company can do:

  • Provide your employees with a digital banking solution that comes with support for their financial issues.
  • Enable access to services that will help them save, such as savings accounts and money transfers with low rates. This is especially important for your international workers who are more likely to be sending money to countries outside the UAE.
  • Provide training pathways and a structured process for development and progression for all employees.

How can you advance your goal of Decent Work and Economic Growth?

Only 2 in 5 young adults are considered financially literate, putting them at risk of making poor financial decisions that could impact their future health and happiness. As a company, you can provide your workforce—young and otherwise—the education to better manage financial concerns. At NOW Money, our digital banking solution will even shoulder the burden for you, providing invaluable resources and even on-site financial literacy workshops.

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

One in six people has experienced some form of discrimination. While women and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected, people of different religions, ethnicities, and LGBTQ+ people are targets, too.

The UN says that, “we can ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of income if we eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices.” The UAE’s Federal Law No. 33 of 2021 (the New Labor Law) is a step towards this elimination, prohibiting discrimination against people on the grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, national origin, ethnic origin or disability. The provisions under the labour law to ensure equal pay for women also help further the goal of Reduced Inequalities. But, as an employer of an international workforce, there are things you can do to further protect your employees.

  • Implement DEI training for everyone in your company to encourage a more inclusive culture
  • Take a zero tolerance stance on hate speech and discriminatory behaviour among your workforce
  • Give all your employees access to banking services that help them make the most of their money, such as savings accounts that accrue interest, and a money transfer service that offers a fair exchange rate

How can you develop the goal of Reduced Inequalities?

Ensuring your employees have the same access to services and resources as everyone else may be a priority for you. As such, you will already be adhering to the Wage Protection System, and may be bringing your processes up to speed as a result.

But having the access to resources and knowing what to do with it are not the same thing. Because many of your workers are international, they won’t have the same knowledge of financial opportunities as a native born Emirati. And if they fall into a lower pay bracket, they may face the challenge of having to make their pay stretch further than most. 

NOW Money is the first digital banking service designed with low income workers in mind. It not only gives employees the crucial services to better manage their money, but also provides the education they need to make the best financial decisions. So you can actively promote social and economic growth in the UAE. And give your employees a pathway to a brighter financial future.

Are you ready for a better way to pay your employees?

Find out how NOW Money can add value to your business with flexible payroll and inclusive employee banking solutions.

Arrange a quick call with our team to see how NOW Money can work for you.

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