Show Your Colours Blog

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Across the country, Canadians are already answering the 2030 Agenda’s call to action. There are 17 colourful goals to make our world a better place. Which ones resonate with you the most?

This Blog is a platform to share those stories, spark curiosity, create connections, and provide meaningful information around the Sustainable Development Goals. Let's inspire each other to take action now.

Across the country, Canadians are already answering the 2030 Agenda’s call to action. There are 17 colourful goals to make our world a better place. Which ones resonate with you the most?

This Blog is a platform to share those stories, spark curiosity, create connections, and provide meaningful information around the Sustainable Development Goals. Let's inspire each other to take action now.

  • Welcome to the Show Your Colours Blog!

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    13 Sep 2019
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The team here in the Sustainable Development Goals Unit (SDG Unit) at Employment and Social Development Canada is very excited to be launching our online presence, and to be speaking directly with you about why we care about the Sustainable Development Goals and why you should too.

    The Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the SDGs or Global Goals, are part of an historic global agreement called the 2030 Agenda. Its purpose: For all countries to work together, to make the world a better place for everyone, and who doesn’t want to do that?

    Before getting into why the SDGs are so important, let me take a second to explain a little bit about how they came to be. In 2012, member states of the United Nations (193 countries) came together in Rio de Janeiro to create a new, global agenda for sustainable development.

    The meeting in Rio was one of the largest events in the history of the United Nations and resulted in a document called “The Future We Want.” With this, UN member states agreed to create a new set of goals. Goals that would be integrated, transformative, and apply to all nations – the Sustainable Development Goals.

    It took three more years of lengthy negotiation sessions, and many iterations, but on September 25th, 2015,“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted. For the first time in history, we agreed on the world’s most comprehensive plan to tackle the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice. This is a phenomenal accomplishment.

    The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. These goals are about meeting people’s needs – for a safe home, a decent job, education for their children, quality health care, and a healthy environment to live in.

    It will take a whole-of-society effort to meet the goals. By bringing together the voices and actions of all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, municipalities, civil society, the private sector, and Canadians, we can create a common understanding and shared vision for Canada’s path forward.

    Caring about the Sustainable Development Goals, is about caring for people, and our planet, so that future generations can live a better, more peaceful and prosperous life. We all have a role to play in seeing these goals through, because taking care of humanity is a job for us all!

    So show us your colours, and share your thoughts and ideas on this blog. We want to hear what you think about the Sustainable Development Goals, and why they matter to you.

  • Investing in Sustainable Consumption

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    13 Sep 2019
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    Do you want to make sustainable solutions part of your daily life? Good news! When it comes to the way you buy and sell, you can.

    You can contribute to achieving the Global Goals – aka Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – by changing the way you do business. Even if you don’t own a business, as a customer, you can be part of the solution.

    While business is about making a profit, entrepreneurs and shoppers alike are quickly realizing that operations can go beyond dollars and cents. By following a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework, businesses can empower people, help the environment, and make money. By looking at sustainability from a social, environmental, and financial point of view, many opportunities and solutions for improvement present themselves.

    Global Goal #12 – Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

    This specific goal reinforces the importance of doing business differently. It touches upon matters such as efficient use of natural resources, better waste management practices, and leveraging technology for advancement.

    It also brings to light the importance of re-framing common economic practices such as subsidies and favorable tax advantages to sectors that cause harm to the global community and to the environment. Imagine a world where businesses that are good for the environment receive tax breaks and funding.

    I’ve often drawn a direct line between sustainability and resource management. There is no goal that highlights this point better. You are in control of the way you consume. Yes, you do need to shop and buy things. However, you can make daily choices to ensure that the companies you support, and the products you buy, are empowering people, not exploiting them.

    Fair Trade is a great example of a movement that does just that. It serves as inspiration for individual customers to purchase with a purpose. It also serves as empowerment to many social entrepreneurs out there looking to do things differently. Have you noticed stores now carry a larger selection of Fair Trade and organic products? That’s because more and more customers are requesting them.

    Leading Role

    While all countries will be involved in the shift from economic exploitation to economic empowerment, developed nations play the leading role. Because the average income level per capita of developed nations is higher, their citizens have more buying power for consumables. Also, developed nations have long looked to industries in developing nations to produce consumer goods at lower costs.

    Though the history of production has been unfavorable for many workers across the globe, awareness and advocacy has brought forth the need to adjust the production line to ensure that work environments are safer and that human rights are respected no matter where someone ranks in a company.

    Awareness about the impact on the environment through exploitative production has also led to customers thinking twice before purchasing a product that is destructive to the Earth. It’s become increasingly apparent that purchasing built to last, quality products is the most sustainable option for customers and businesses.

    Vote for Change

    When purchasing built to last, eco-friendly, ethical products, you are choosing to invest in items that are inspired by respect for people and the planet. You are investing in local tradition and culture. These products cost a little extra in the moment, but when things are built to last, they work out to be cheaper in the long run.

    And from the profit point of view, just look at a company like Patagonia, and you’ll see the success that accompanies doing business in a sustainable way.

    Making the Investment

    In order to achieve the Global Goals, many are looking to private industry to make the investment. That means businesses and customers need to see the big picture: the interconnected nature of sustainability. For a business to be sustainable, attention must be paid to financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and social sustainability. Not one or the other, but instead all three.

    Inevitably it will take time to balance the equation, to adjust the variables that lend to each category. There will be trial and error, however if the ultimate goal is sustainable development, then business as usual isn’t going to cut it.

    Original post:

    Leah Feor, Simply Sustainable

  • Research Partnerships to realize the 2030 Agenda in Canada

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    13 Sep 2019
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    The 2030 Agenda is ambitious. Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires a whole-of-society approach across sectors. Collaborative research partnerships create pathways between practice and research that advance learning towards effective sustainable development solutions. Producing timely and relevant knowledge that informs evidence-based programming and policy is key to meeting the SDG indicators in Canada. However, challenges around research partnerships mean these collaborations happen less frequently than they could in Canada. Additionally, expenditures on research and development in Canada will require a breakthrough to meet the 50% increase in dedicated researchers needed to achieve targets in science and innovation.

    Existing contributions to the 2030 Agenda

    Nevertheless, existing innovative partnerships happening across Canada provide a starting point to bridge the gap in SDG-related research partnerships. For example, the Alliance 2030 is an on-line platform that creates space for diverse organizations and individuals the opportunity to connect and collaborate. The Blueprint, Generation SDG, an effort of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, showcases a range of collective actions and local partnerships in Canada working to advance sustainable development. Finally, the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation’s (BCCIC) Movement Map reveals the “invisible mosaic” of organizations contributing to the sustainable development without an explicit reference to the SDGs. This trend exists in academia as well. Scholars are fueling SDG research though their efforts are not necessarily framed as such.

    In response to this blind spot, Next Generation – Collaboration for Development, a joint research program between the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development, has teamed up with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada to map areas of research on the SDGs in Canada. This project aims to identify how researchers and their partners contribute to the implementation of the SDGs and to uncover under-represented areas in SDG research. Further, based on emerging research on academic and civil society collaboration, the team has identified capacity challenges for building effective and fair partnerships, and determined the need for accelerated knowledge mobilization and outreach.

    Promoting collaboration

    Implementing the SDGs in Canada means significant investment in research and development, but also fostering a partnership-enabling environment as shown in a recent policy brief by CCIC and BCCIC. Government and government agencies have a role to play in facilitating exchanges within and between sectors by acting as a convener to support cross-sector exchanges and knowledge sharing. Financing collaborative efforts and capacity building mechanisms can support the transformative elements of the 2030 Agenda, including engaging historically marginalized communities in Canada as partners.

    There is an opportunity to leverage existing funding opportunities to better link research and collaborative research projects to the 2030 Agenda. For example, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Imagining Canada’s Future initiative focuses on future global challenges facing Canadians that in part reflect the SDGs. SSHRC also provides funding opportunities to support collaboration between academics and non-state actors and manages certain programs that could support the 2030 Agenda. The National Research Council Canada also supports international innovation and collaboration. Bolstering these existing approaches and explicitly linking research to the SDGs could further buttress collaboration. Responsive funding and seed funding to support the capacity to test new ideas could enhance community and non-state actor efforts, leading to new synergies and scaling of successes. Universities across Canada have already started to take on the 2030 Agenda by incorporating the SDGs into their strategies on campus. Universities provide fertile ground for SDG research, monitoring and evaluation, enabling multi-stakeholder partnerships, and importantly, engaging students.

    There are great strides to be made towards implementing the SDGs. Promoting a culture of cross-sectoral collaboration and research partnerships presents an exciting opportunity to advance the 2030 Agenda in Canada and abroad.

    This opinion piece is part of BCCIC and CCIC’s Good Practice in 2030 Agenda Implementation Series, an initiative funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program.

    Nasya Razavi, Post-Doctorante Visiteuse, The City Institute, York University et Jon Beale, Directeur, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada