How do you put the SDGs into action as a small enterprise?
Written by guest blogger Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours. She is also the owner of Lifesparkz Consult – sustainable business, that focuses on UN’s 17 SDGs.
When the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals back in 2015, it seemed to me that the framework for measures and indicators was directed towards large organisations’ measurement standards. So, I asked myself how the SDGs can be applied in small enterprises.
At that time, I was in the middle of a move from Copenhagen to Nice in Southern France to be able to enjoy the many hours of sunshine and have an easy access to outdoor activities in this beautiful region. Before my move, I had for a while wanted to work with sustainable business consultancy. Now I decided to take a different approach: To take action and be the change.
I love cycling and quickly decided to set up a bike tour company in order to help others to visit the region in a sustainable manner. My company, Lifesparkz Bike Tours, became my space for learning and making a difference in reaching the 2030 goals.
The mission of the company, Lifesparkz Bike Tours is quite simple:
To get more people to experience la Côte d’Azur and les Alpes-Maritimes by bike.
How to select targets from among the 17 goals?
The 17 goals are all interconnected to reach sustainable development. So, I took a very pragmatic approach of prioritizing in accordance to my core activity.
I created a method where I selected first 6 goals out of the 17. Then, I selected again the 3 main goals that are main drivers for the service I offer.
After a while, however, I decided to include the goals that were a bit lower in my selection – as I find that the goals are interlinked and hard to differentiate in practice!
- Goal 3: Good health and well-being
- Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 13: Protect the planet and climate action
- Goal 15: Life on land
Converting the Goals into Activities
When I work with the SDGs, I aim at converting the indicators of the individual goals into concrete activities that I do. For example: Goal #3 of health & well-being is a direct effect for cyclists. Especially on their bodies and mind from participating in a bike tour. It also includes road safety.
Goal #11 is the direct effect on the environment in the city of Nice I make by guiding people in the area by bike – instead of the same people visiting the same places. Either by car or motorbike leading out CO2 and noise.
How to implement SDG strategies in a small business
To me, goal #13 and #15 are found in a fundamental respect that I carry with me, when I am out in Nature on the bike, e.g. I do not litter except in litter bins. Again, being on a bike in general is CO2 neutral as the engine is your body. You could argue that doing a lot of exercise makes you more hungry. Therefore, you have to count in the CO2 emissions from your food-intake in that equation. However, this gets a bit too complicated to me…
Goal #4 I have chosen as learning is integral when I develop my activities. I continuously try new approaches and ways to offer bike tours in order to reach my overall mission of getting more people to bike in the region.
By doing this, I also continuously work for creating and sustaining goal #17 partnerships. My approach to doing business is very much built on a network basis. I help other businesses and individual contractors as they help me.
Together, we are already getting more people to discover and experience la Côte d’Azur and les Alpes-Maritimes as a destination for cycling.
In these ways, keeping the SDGs as an integral part in a very low key and practical manner, helps me to set direction for my activities and methods. In everyday life, I do not think so much about them to be honest. However, they are always there as reference points when I make decisions for how to develop my business, and with whom. For example, I want cycling here to be inclusive and for everyone who likes to discover the world by bike and not just for top-trained, hard-core, sportive cyclists.
Everybody can be a cyclist – you too! Every pedal counts.