Sustainable Development Goals

We support the ambitions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals.

The vision of the Global Goals international action plan is to set out a positive vision for the future - to tackle poverty and inequality and promote sustainable development across the world.  There are 17 Global Goals which form the basis of a global partnership for sustainable development.

Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to sign up to adopting the Global Goals in 2015.  More than 190 countries have now signed up to the vision to end poverty, hunger, inequality and to protect the environment.

Having recognised the strategic importance of the Global Goals to our work, in particular with young people, we seek to play an active role in supporting the targets of all 17 Global Goals.

Across our own activities we have identified where we have the biggest potential to contribute to the 17 Global Goals and their 169 targets. 

We recognise:

  • six goals which we strongly evidence contribution to;
  • a further six goals which we can evidence a smaller contribution to;
  • two goals which we don’t contribute to yet, but hope to be able to in the future; and
  • three goals which we feel we do not actively contribute to.

Our international activity and connections give us the ability to reach a wide ranging audience and we believe it is important for us to demonstrate that our activities contribute to the Global Goals.  Going forward we will collate evidence from our activities which demonstrate our support.

We recognise that our charitable activities support some of the goals more strongly than others.  The goals we contribute the most to are:

Quality Education

We provide a range of education initiatives for children, young people and educators.

As we work to realise the vision of our world in 2030, young people, who will mature in the next 15 years, will play an absolutely crucial part.  This is why our Eco-Schools Scotland programme has been refreshed and aligned to the Global Goals. Further information on this can be found on the sustainable development education area of our website.           

Decent Work and Economic Growth

We promote full and productive employment and decent work for all.

For example, through our Young Food Entrepreneurs project we have supported young people to explore food, sustainability and enterprise.   We believe that young people with passion, skills, knowledge and experience will be at the heart of a developing food industry and this project develops pathways and opportunities for young people to develop such attributes.

And, through our own policies we ensure that we support volunteers, interns and employees equally.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

We support the private and public sectors, communities and individuals across Scotland to help create and maintain cleaner, safer and more sustainable local environments. Our activities range from projects encouraging biodiversity, to promoting sustainable food growing to helping communities reduce carbon emissions and improve local environmental quality.

For example, during 2015/16 we supported and recognized 148 community groups through our It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign as they worked to improve and enhance their local environments.  We also audited more than 120 beaches and parks and awarded them for their excellent environmental management.  And, we supported a number of housing associations to identify issues on their sites and provide information to support them to take action with their tenants.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Across our Sustainable Development Education and Sustainability and Climate Change themes we undertake a range of activities to actively promote a reduction in consumption; encouraging the reuse of items, extending the life of everyday items through repair and maintenance support and encouraging the recycling of materials.

For example, in 2016, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, we were the Scottish delivery partner for the development education and awareness raising food waste project “Don’t Waste Our Future”. This project involved approximately 80 primary and secondary schools, 2800 students, 160 teachers and 40 municipalities across seven European countries.

Through our work supporting communities in receipt of a Climate Challenge Fund grant we have helped them to take action on climate change by recycling 27,000 tonnes of waste.

Climate Action   

We work with organisations and communities to help people to reduce their carbon emissions, to improve local areas and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

For example, for more than a decade we have managed and developed the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) to improve Scotland’s public sector performance on sustainability and climate change. SSN is based on a partnership of the Scottish Government, Keep Scotland Beautiful and SSN members throughout the public sector.  We support 350 public sector organisations to take action on sustainable development and 150 of these to submit reports on their compliance with the climate change duties outlined in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

We also manage and administer the Climate Challenge Fund a Scottish Government grant programme.  Through this we provide support, resources and training and organise events to support community groups taking action on climate change.  Since the Climate Challenge Fund was introduced in 2008, 622 communities across Scotland have been awarded grants totalling £85.8 million to run community-led projects that reduce local carbon emissions, improve their local areas and help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Partnerships for the Goals

We strive to maintain effective relationships with communities and organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

For example, we facilitate several networks to support action, build on the experiences of others and to support the development of strategic partnerships.   We run Scotland’s Local Environmental Quality Network, the Sustainable Scotland Network, a forum for beach managers, another for park managers and a number to support communities taking action to improve Scotland’s environment. 

We also play an active role attending and contributing to other networks across Scotland and Europe.  These include the Food Coalition, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Clean Europe Network and Foundation of Environmental Education.  We are a member of Learning for Sustainability Scotland and have recently joined UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development as a partner.

The outcomes of our charitable activities also contribute to six further goals, including:

We acknowledge that we are starting, and will continue in the future, to evidence our support of two further goals, Zero Hunger and Good Health and Wellbeing.

Currently the outcomes from our charitable activities do not actively support the indicators of three goals.  These are No Poverty, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities.

We believe that all sectors in Scotland, national and local government, the private sector, communities our education networks, and third sector organisations need to work together over the next 15 years, to help realise the global ambition of the goals. 

We look forward to working with others to ensure we all play our part.