I think we all want to be good people. Contributing to the betterment of all, creating a better world through our efforts, green pastures, and blue skies and all that. That’s the dream, but it seems a little out of reach most days. We’re just trying to pay the bills.
Our society has fostered a culture of careless consumption. And it’s normal. But it doesn’t have to be. Social entrepreneurs are proving that it is completely possible to do well by doing good. They’ve realized that capitalism is simply the extension of our will—a tool to use as we see fit. And given the scale of the social problems that our world is facing, we need ambitious and talented people to enter the market and shine.
Fearless leadership and conscious capitalism
We need social entrepreneurs for their creative problem-solving skills, for their proactivity and world-class strategic brains, and for their uncanny ability to shift institutional, societal and individual mindsets towards the issues that are most pressing.
These people are driven by the idea of how they can contribute to societal change. Through appreciative inquiry, empathy, teamwork, collaborative leadership and diversity, they have the ability to both identify the right type of problems and make steps towards fixing them.
Are you that type of person? If you are, you can frame your ambition by aiming it towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Created as a call for action by all countries — poor, rich and middle-income — the goals are in place to promote prosperity, while protecting the planet.
They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
Go on, take a look.
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. Social protection systems need to be implemented to help alleviate the suffering of disaster-prone countries and provide support in the face of great economic risks. These systems will help strengthen responses by afflicted populations to unexpected economic losses during disasters and will eventually help to end extreme poverty in the most impoverished areas.
Goal 2: Zero hunger
The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication. It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.
If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment. A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the 815 million people who are hungry today and the additional 2 billion people expected to be undernourished by 2050.
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
Many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues. By focusing on providing more efficient funding of health systems, improved sanitation and hygiene, increased access to physicians and more tips on ways to reduce ambient pollution, significant progress can be made in helping to save the lives of millions.
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development.
Goal 4: Providing a quality education
Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.
The reasons for lack of quality education are due to lack of adequately trained teachers, poor conditions of schools and equity issues related to opportunities provided to rural children. For quality education to be provided to the children of impoverished families, investment is needed in educational scholarships, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity access to schools.
Goal 5: Gender equality
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.
Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
To improve sanitation and access to drinking water, there needs to be increased investment in management of freshwater ecosystems and sanitation facilities on a local level in several developing countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential. Working towards this goal is especially important as it interlinks with other Sustainable Development Goals.
Focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.
Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7% and having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places.
This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty. Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment.
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Investments in infrastructure — transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology — are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure
Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen.
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations — the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states — continue to make inroads into poverty reduction.
However, inequality persists and large disparities remain regarding access to health and education services and other assets.
Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.
With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all.
Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.
Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
The world’s oceans — their temperature, chemistry, currents and life — drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind.
Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Marine protected areas need to be effectively managed and well-resourced and regulations need to be put in place to reduce overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.
Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
Forests cover 30.7 per cent of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. By protecting forests, we will also be able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity.
Deforestation and desertification — caused by human activities and climate change — pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.
Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
The threats of international homicide, violence against children, human trafficking and sexual violence are important to address to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. They pave the way for the provision of access to justice for all and for building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
While homicide and trafficking cases have seen significant progress over the past decade, there are still thousands of people at greater risk of intentional murder within Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and around Asia. Children’s rights violations through aggression and sexual violence continue to plague many countries around the world, especially as under-reporting and lack of data aggravate the problem.
Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.
If you’re that change-the-world, crazy-ambitious-and-hungry, a do-gooder-trying-to-do-greater type, then Houston needs you. And you deserve a community that is as passionate as you are.
We’re excited to announce the launch of our “3, 2, 1…” crowdfunding campaign. Through it, the community will learn more about our vision and impact, hear stories from our community, and meet our passionate launch team. We hope that these stories will shed light on the value and need for Impact Hub in Houston.
Every dollar raised during the campaign will help us expand our programming, empower more social entrepreneurs, build a stronger impact-driven community, and help us launch our new home.
Do well by doing good, right? See you around.