Opinions - 01.10.2018 - 00:00 

Sustainable development goals

The UN has defined 17 sustainable development goals, SDGs for short. A travelling exhibition by photographer Dario Lanfranconi will illustrate the SDGs from 1 to 12 October in the foyer of the main building. HSG professor Thomas Dyllick on the importance of the SDGs in the HSG context.
Source: HSG Newsroom

1 October 2018. In 2015, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the heart of this new global framework are the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This very broad agenda includes social goals such as health, education and gender equality and environmental goals such as sustainable water management, energy and climate protection, as well as economic goals such as sustainable economic growth, a reduction in inequality, and sustainable production and consumption patterns. But also, reliable and fair leadership and decision-making structures at national and international level as well as global partnerships. This framework will influence further development at national and cantonal levels. It also provides orientation and triggers activities in companies, NGOs and scientific institutions.

Guideline for sustainable development

Why did HSG adopt the SDGs for its own planning, and what role does it play in this process? HSG became a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) in 2010, and has had a delegate of the President's Board for Responsibility and Sustainability (R&S) since 2011, has been reporting every two years since 2012 on its commitment and achievements in a comprehensive sustainability report and, since 2013, has been applying special guiding principles in this area. According to these guiding principles, it is important to consider R&S in all important fields of action, in research, teaching, executive education, student commitment, campus activities and public commitment. Extensive activities exist in all of these areas, in some cases for quite a while, for example, the seminars and lectures offered by corresponding courses in contextual studies, but also in key offers for areas such as renewable energies management, sustainability management or corporate social responsibility. The ongoing efforts of the building service on the HSG campus to save energy and water, to collect and recycle waste or to generate solar energy, as well as the impressive activities of the ten student associations in the field of R&S should also be taken into consideration.

Sustainability goals in the university context

While these activities have developed out of HSG's traditional activities, the SDGs have now created an external target framework. This makes it possible to align and focus HSG's commitment. To this end, the President's Board determined the primarily relevant SDGs, before grouping together all existing activities and services and defining new, more far-reaching goals.

Thus, for instance, SDG 4 (high-quality education) is about integrating sustainability education in all programmes and integrating learning goals and corresponding didactics into the programme descriptions. SDG 5 (gender equality) ensures that more women are hired during the appointment process and a research focus is set up on "women in leadership positions". SDG 7 and 13 (affordable and clean energy and climate protection) is developing a further focus on energy policy and climate modelling beyond existing competencies. In the area of SDG 12 (ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns), research is to be intensified and public commitment strengthened.

In accordance with SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions), HSG's role as a meeting place serves to strengthen international understanding and cultural exchange. According to SDG 17 (Global partnerships for sustainable development), sustainability issues are to be integrated into the international HSG hubs in Singapore and Sao Paolo and internships in developing countries are to be supported. An overview of all SDGs can be found on the sustainability portal of the University of St.Gallen.