Personal Actions that Everyone Can Take to Support the SDGs

By Julian Hill-Landolt, Director Sustainable Lifestyles, WBCSD

New ‘Good Life Goals’ embrace individual action in a fun, easily-understood, and accessible way and offer organisations a charming way of engaging staff, partners and customers in the 17 SDGs.

Animated emojis aren’t normally the way that WBCSD presents its work to its members. Publications, tools, case studies – these are how we normally get our message across to business leaders around the world. And yet, in recent weeks we’ve found ourselves regularly pressing play to start an animation of 17 of the most adorable emojis you’ve ever seen. These emojis are part of our recent work on the Good Life Goals, a set of actions that individuals around the world can take to help support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

These new Good Life Goals highlight the vital role of individual action in achieving the ambitions of the SDGs. They were created to be relevant, easily understood and accessible to individuals all around the world. Simple, positive, and engaging by design, the Good Life Goals detail the things that people can do to have tangible impact on the SDGs.

In short, the Good Life Goals are 85 individual actions in support of all 17 SDGs (5 each) designed to provide an entry point for any government, NGO, or company in any sector, into the individual behaviours linked to activities, products and services, sustainable lifestyles, and the SDGs themselves. The Good Life Goals have been shaped through a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Futerra, the 10YFP SLE Programme, co-led by the governments of Sweden and Japan represented by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), as well as UNESCO, UN Environment and WBCSD.

Good Life Goals offer companies a great way to engage colleagues and partners, quickly making the SDGs tangible and relevant in the context of people’s day-to-day lives and responsibilities. As powerful a framework as the SDGs are, the 17 Goals and 169 indicators can be quite impenetrable to people not concerned with sustainability issues on daily basis.

Of course, there are fantastic resources available to companies offering detailed overviews of the SDGs, outlining the specific actions they can take including examples to make the SDGs more tangible and actionable. You can learn more at WBCSD’s SDGhub. But what about those employees who don’t even know what the SDGs are?

We believe that the Good Life Goals offer companies the opportunity to have an initial conversation about why and how specific SDGs are relevant to their business, employees and the communities in which they work. They are able to do this because each Good Life Goal comprises nothing more than a short title explaining what the goal is addressing (e.g. Goal 1 “Help End Poverty”), five clear actions that people can relate to and that support the goal, and a fun emoji that catches people’s attention and imagination. They are deliberately simple!

In addition to engaging colleagues, the Good Life Goals can provide companies with valuable insight into the ways the SDGs link to the actions, activities and lifestyles of their customers. This understanding can help brands more effectively engage with people around the behaviours that are connected to their products and services, driving positive action in support of the SDGs. For the most ambitious companies, the Good Life Goals can also be leveraged to channel new product development in support of the SDGs. Exploring the linkages between people’s day-to-day lives and the SDGs will help businesses to identify innovation opportunities capable of offering better and more sustainable lifestyles.

We couldn’t be happier to share these Good Life Goals with businesses all over the world. Everyone we’ve shared them with immediately responds positively. They can see the exciting new perspective and opportunity that they provide. Please do go and find out more about them at the, where you’ll find a rich set of materials to explore, including a short inspirational film, animations of the emojis, a deck of cards with each Good Life Goal, a manual that fully explains their use for different stakeholder groups, and a media kit.

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