A Decade of Action: Why SDGs Matter
“We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.” - from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.
What are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity as part of a new sustainable development agenda. These goals demonstrate the scale and ambition of this universal agenda, and intend to trigger action over the next decade in areas of critical consequence for humanity and our ecosystem.
The hope is to have all people, governments and businesses following the agenda by 2030.
What does this mean for small businesses?
Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) represent half of all private-sector employment in the United States. Upwards of 90% of all workers are employed by SMEs.
To achieve progress, it’s critical for smaller companies to adopt these goals.
Understandably, small businesses have a lot to think about. Survival and growth take top priority. Sustainability isn’t typically part of their strategic thinking, unless the business was initially built on this model. Larger companies are fortunate enough to dedicate entire teams to tracking, fulfilling and reporting on SDG progress and alignment, so it’s easy to see why small businesses struggle to get onboard.
However, meeting SDGs are estimated to unlock at least $2 trillion in new market opportunities and create 380 million new jobs by 2030. Consumers are taking note, too. Behaviors are dramatically shifting in the direction of brands committed to measurable improvements, with upwards of 57% of consumers willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.
How does Nimble align?
As a small business, we focus on creating everyday personal tech products with less impact on the planet through use of certified recycled materials, plastic-free packaging, carbon neutral shipping, and responsibly recycling as much electronic waste as new tech we produce.
As a registered Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) and Certified B Corporation®, we’re legally required to consider all stakeholders in every decision. This affects our employees, factory workers, and community by creating a better, more inclusive work environment through higher wages and benefits, equal opportunity, and an improved work/life balance.
On the whole, our approach touches multiple SDGs, so we’ve chosen to highlight two goals where we’re able to generate the biggest impact.
GOAL 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
Retail sales for consumer electronics in the U.S. is expected to hit over $500 billion in 2021. In a market dominated by big name brands with multi-million dollar advertising budgets, Nimble’s path to growth depends on carving out a modest sliver of that by offering personal tech solutions made as sustainably as possible.
The foundation for achieving this is consistent use of REPLAY Certified Recycled Materials in all products, as well as low-impact materials like organic hemp.
GOAL 13 - Climate Action
Although fundamental to our process, recycled materials is but a single step in plans to reduce our overall carbon footprint, calculated at 1,571 tCO2e for fiscal year 2020.
By taking a top-to-bottom approach in addressing CO2 emissions (see 8 Steps to Cut Back Carbon), we’re able to more quickly reach reduction targets through investments in carbon reduction projects, natural resource conservation, and closing the loop on e-waste.
For example, in working to become Climate Neutral Certified, we’ve successfully measured and offset our 2020 CO2 emissions by pursuing an aggressive carbon reduction plan and purchasing offsets. Since implementing our One-for-One Tech Recovery Project, we’ve also managed to reclaim over 5,000 pounds of electronic waste, preventing about 13,500 lbs of CO2 from entering Earth’s atmosphere.
A Step Towards a More Sustainable Future
No matter how big or small a business is, operating more responsibly and communicating these practices will inspire others to do the same.
Each company will take on SDGs differently. But, it’s important to first understand the goals, define priorities, integrate, and finally, report on the progress.
As with any meaningful effort, the hardest part is getting started.