Every day companies face challenges that can compromise or elevate their status as a brand. Innovation as well as following the needs of the consumers are vital to the growth of businesses. The 17 SDGs, can be the means through which organisations can bring positive impact not only to society but also to the companies’ business models. SDGs can empower you to reconsider your company, products, and services in terms of the effects on people and the planet. Therefore, allowing you to innovate and remain relevant.
In the following interview with Mia Negru, co-founder and CRO of 2030 Builders, you will learn about the importance of including the SDGs in your organisation and the related benefits it brings.
Why should companies work with the SDGs?
Mia: Trying to stay relevant in the future of any industry requires having a focus on sustainability. And the SDGs are guiding the way for innovation. Many people will see them as a problem, showing us where humanity is failing. But in our perspective, the SDGs are showing us where innovation is needed most in order to have a more hopeful and sustainable world tomorrow. Having a more sustainable world will allow us to tap into bigger markets, increase customers, and live better lives.
Companies working with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a good start. But SDG strategy is also critical in order to be successful. We think the SDGs should be integrated on a more strategic level. They should give guidance for where the companies should innovate, find new customers, new market segments, and maybe even revise their business model. Using the SDGs transforms the way people are doing innovative business today. It not only prioritises profit but the good of the planet and society as well.
What is the best way to work with the SDGs?
Mia: The best way to work with the SDGs is to include as many employees as possible in the strategy-building process. 2030 Builders promotes the inclusion of different departments and levels throughout the company in the development of an integrated SDGs strategy. Developing an action plan will be most successful among the company as a whole rather than one department being responsible. Companies that do not integrate the SDGs may not be able to achieve success or relevancy in the next 5–10 years.
Who in the company should work with the SDGs?
Mia: Everyone can benefit from working with the SDGs. So there is not a targeted industry that we specialise in working with. Companies can either use the SDGs to build up a strategy on that or improve their current one. In our opinion, they need to communicate the effort to their entire organisation. Every employee should have the tools to act accordingly with the SDGs, rather than designate one expert to represent the whole company. If the top-level management takes a decision to go one way, and not everybody in the company buys into that vision, then it runs the risk of what is said on paper not matching up with the existing behavior. It’s harder to implement all levels when collaboration is lacking.
Our tool focuses on co-creation as the most beneficial process. People can be from the same or different levels, in teams, or across departments, and still, work towards internal innovation. By working together, teams will better understand what is possible in regard to the SDG targets they can incorporate into their strategy.
An overall understanding is needed among the employees of what the SDGs are, why they are important, and why the company is taking that particular course. On the other hand, we also have companies that know they would like to work with the SDGs. Maybe they would not think about which SDGs will be relevant, but they do not have a strategy on how they can actually bring in more business with that. Our process begins bottom-up. When teams gain a deeper understanding of the SDGs, then we ideate and filter ideas based on strategic goals and strategic directions. This process is a great way of motivating all employees to buy into the strategy because they are actively contributing. We provide companies with a strategic twist on the SDGs making sure that they don’t fall into the greenwashing trap.
What makes 2030 Builders distinctly different than a consultancy?
Mia: We do not deny that consultancies are valuable in helping companies integrate the SDGs. However, the consultancy process can be quite long. And it can obtain the same results of having a report where the company can act upon. We know how slow the processes can be between strategy building and implementation. So we thought that we need to give more power to the employees, and also act fast. What sets us apart is the fast track process we provide. The results are immediate, and it’s up to the companies themselves to take action with implementation. We have decided to upgrade our tool to an online tool that actually gives access to companies to independently innovate an impact within the SDGs. Our Product is comparable to a Swiss Army Knife, in which the modules supply a variety of tools that are accessible and efficient to carry out.
Empowering companies to independently work with the SDGs makes the process the most efficient. If we want all companies to become one hundred per cent sustainable in their business practices by 2030, we need to speed this process up. And that is what our tool does. The value of having an online product is the accessibility of exploring new possibilities of working with the goals. Both small and large companies can benefit from working together to identify specific entities they can incorporate in their strategy.
What is the process like?
Mia: 2030 Builders have developed this tool that makes people feel they are playing a game while developing a serious strategy for their company. The more people involved in the ideation process the better chances you have to choose a strategy that is very valuable. A strategy that makes sense with the alignment and the strategic direction that the company is willing to take.
We look at our mission as the “triple I’s” enabling companies to independently innovate and impact within the SDGs. Independently is important because it enables the process to be faster. Customers can set up a team of people then go through different modules at their convenience. Innovation is crucial to highlight because we can tackle the challenges that we are facing today which is changing the way we see the future. Innovation is the key to building up a better and safer society while also earning money through sustainable means.
The impact is very relevant not only for the new generations of employees and customers but also for the legacy of the company’s value in the future and the likelihood they will still be on the market in 20 years. The impact creates an updated balance between how we are today and where we can sell today. Meanwhile helping developing countries to leapfrog, and develop to reach our level in a very short amount of time. Globalisation will feel different once the impact is accounted for.
We have designed a simple process that combines co-creation and gamification. And it keeps people engaged in finding solutions and designing a plan about how they can impact their business, communities, and the society around them with maybe a better or more sustainable product or a new business model. We have a framework for developing this impact plan that is integrated into one of our modules. The process becomes customized for each client once they start their journey because our needs and challenges are very different. But also our problem-solving strategy and our way of thinking are very unique, thus there are no two journeys alike.