From deadly wildfires to catastrophic floods and landslides, a day rarely passes by without the impacts of climate change hitting the headlines. And with those living in poverty disproportionately affected by the negative impact of human development, it’s not the only urgent issue we must overcome to build a more sustainable and resilient future. Today, 9% of the global population experiences extreme poverty, living in an endless cycle of lack of access to education, hunger and malnutrition, social discrimination and poor healthcare.
One of the key drivers of change is the United Nations (UN) – a body of 193 global member states – which has drawn up a set of 17 economic, social and environmental objectives to protect humanity and the planet. Called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals, they are designed to tackle climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, famine, inequality, injustice, and more.
In the words of the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals “are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” There are 17 SDGs in total, consisting of 169 specific targets. Each SDG is interlinked to ensure policy makers take a holistic approach to achieving social, economic and environmental sustainability, covering:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
- Partnerships to achieve the Goals
World leaders committed to the SDGs in 2015 as part of a 15-year plan to end poverty and protect the planet. By 2030, the aim is to create a world where everyone can enjoy peace and prosperity.
The SDGs from the 3DS perspective
At Dassault Systèmes, our mission is to provide businesses and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing product, nature and life. Our mission aligns with the SDGs. They also inform our Sustainability Compass and drive us to develop partnerships to help our ecosystem and customers pursue their goals.
Our ‘The Only Progress is Human’ campaign is one way we help address the SDGs. For example, one of our acts is on Water and Consumption, and SDG 6 is clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. Our aim is to find innovative approaches to help billions of people who don’t have clean water to drink or safely managed sanitation.
How does Dassault Systèmes help customers and partners meet the SDGs?
Our virtual twin technology helps companies in any industry act more sustainably, and to meet the SDGs most relevant to their mission. This is because virtual twins are used to invent, model, and test disruptive innovations as well as reduce the need for physical prototypes. They also provide safe testing environments for radically disruptive green and circular innovation.
Through our 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we help our customers operate more sustainably and meet the SDGs that are applicable to their business. One example: Simple Energy, a pioneer in the Indian electric scooter market, is pursuing goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy; goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth; and goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
“With the goal of affordable and clean energy, our company plans to have products purely running on clean energy with zero emissions. We’ll also keep hiring and supporting young talent, harnessing their innovative thinking to come up with the right products. And in line with goal 8, we’ve brought to market an affordable, long-range scooter developed using cutting-edge technology such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.”Suhas Rajkumar, founder and CEO of Simple Energy
We also consider the SDGs within programs we support, such as our 3DEXPERIENCE Lab – an open innovation laboratory to accelerate disruptive innovation and positively impact society. Each participant in this program identifies which SDGs they address, and our work with them ensures they focus on those goals. For example, Autonome Energiesysteme – a developer of small-scale recycling plants – is focused on goals 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and 13 (Climate Action). Personalized surgical implant manufacturer Lucid Implants is focused on a different set of SDGs: 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 10 (Reduced Inequality).
Is the world on target to meet the SDGs?
The UN paints a stark picture if we fail to take sufficient action right now to build a more sustainable future. Experts say that what happens in the next eight to 10 years will determine the quality of our lives for decades and centuries to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic, worsening climate events and the impacts of global conflicts have done little to help. In its 2022 SDG Progress report, the UN urges us to “turbo-charge” our efforts to tackle the pandemic while moving to low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways if we are to succeed in meeting the SDGs by 2030. For businesses, this comes down to a renewed sense of urgency to move sustainability to the top of their agendas and go beyond setting targets to taking proactive steps to meeting them.
“Businesses need to put sustainability at the heart of their decision-making for the sake of humanity and their own bottom line,” the UN chief António Guterres urged in his message for World Environment Day. “A healthy planet is the backbone of nearly every industry on Earth.”