Are you looking for that ‘spark’ to ignite true engagement and purpose into your work? I suggest looking through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators, there truly is something for everyone who is looking to make a difference in the world – whatever your career aspirations and talents may be.
I was recently interviewed by Mohamed Talil Abdullahi for his article “Incorporate Sustainability into Your Career Journey“. This provided me the opportunity to reflect on how sustainability has been incorporated into my career, and with thoughts on how others could do the same.”
For decades now, the world has been working to address huge global challenges from poverty and equality to resource scarcity. The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) were a tremendous boost to global progress, and also, during this time, the field of sustainability evolved. My career path has paralleled this progress and has always connected through the thread of health and well-being. From my undergraduate and graduate studies in biology, physical and health education, environmental and occupational health; and further, through many roles in Environment, Health and Safety and ultimately as a Sustainability professional – health has always played a role. As such, it seems only fitting, that SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, would be the SDG that I chose to focus on as a co-author for the SDG Corporate Guidebook Series.
Today, there are many degrees, certificates and programs that include and/or focus on ‘sustainability’, which is wonderful. However, there aren’t a plethora of pure ‘sustainability practitioner’ roles. And that’s okay. In fact, that is the way it should be, and needs to be. I believe that the greatest opportunity for impact, is in addressing the need, and ample opportunity of integrating sustainability into all roles within organizations. For example, procurement, sales, marketing, accounting and finance, communications or otherwise. Each one of us, is just one small pivot point to recognizing how to integrate meaning and purpose into their work. Applying the lens of the SDGs, may just be the critical piece needed to change our world.
Consider a fictional character, Benedict, a mid-career procurement manager who is feeling lulled into work each day. When he discovers the SDGs, he realizes that there are some amazing opportunities for him to impact sustainable consumption and production and the power of the supply chain at addressing human rights and environmental sustainability. He doesn’t change roles, but rather, begins to pivot his perspective to drive real impact every day.
Consider a fictional undergraduate, let’s call her Francis, who is pursuing an accounting degree, but is not sure where she can really plug in with purpose. By diving in to the SDGS, she finds several targets revolving around finance. She begins to explore how she can provide micro-finance opportunities to women, integrating her love of finance with advancing gender equality.
Opportunities abound, for your company to advance the health and future. Did you know? Approximately 80% of the factors that impact health care is non-clinical in nature?
If this piques your interest, please follow, like, and stay tuned for my next article where I will dive into more details about the different social determinants of health and the many opportunities for impact in different industries and roles.
- Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities What State Legislators Need to Know, National Conference of State Legislators (Dec. 1, 2013)