This article was contributed by David A. Klar, Founder & Executive Director of the Global SDG Awards, with content research and support provided by Sarah Nieman.

We live in the Fourth Industrial Revolution — an era with unprecedented technological advancement.  But this revolution has also come at a time with serious global ecological and social challenges.

Thankfully, companies all around the world are committing themselves to finding innovative, profitable solutions to these problems.

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

Armed with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), businesses from across the globe are leading the way to a more sustainable future. The SDGs are becoming a common language for describing new sustainable market opportunities and corporate responsibility efforts. Many companies working toward the SDGs are not household names yet — but they deserve to be recognized for their efforts and incredible positive impacts.  

Consider companies like Opus 12, Climeworks, and Blue Planet, whose technologies capture carbon dioxide emissions and transform them into usable materials like petrochemicals and jet fuel. Or solar energy companies like The Sun Exchange and Off-Grid Electric that use technology to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to those in need.

The Global SDG Awards were recently launched to support this new era of leadership in sustainability and corporate responsibility. By driving private sector SDG engagement through competition, the organization hopes to create a race to the top and to inspire others with examples of sustainability leadership.

Large companies are also demonstrating SDG leadership by using the framework to describe current and planned corporate responsibility efforts. In response to a 2015 video of a sea turtle with a straw lodged in its nose, Starbucks recently pledged to remove plastic straw use from its stores by 2020. Similarly, McDonald’s is replacing plastic straws with paper ones in the UK and Ireland, and is considering alternatives for its stores in other parts of the world. These efforts directly support targets associated with Goal 14 — Life Under Water.

Suppliers are also starting to respond to shifting consumer preferences. Tableware company Repurpose Inc. has seen a drastic increase in sales of their compostable straws since the beginning of the summer – driven by food service companies and consumers.

Citibank recently became the first American bank with a commitment to closing the gender wage gap. Shipping giant FedEx recently became the first company to receive a perfect score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index, which gave it the title of “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Both companies’ commitments to gender equality in the workplace strongly support Goal 5 – Gender Equality.

Companies from across countries and sectors can now compete for 17 annual Global SDG Awards. The awards will shine a spotlight on what is possible — private sector solutions that are creating a better future for each and every one of us.

More information about the application process, and the individual submission questions (available for download) are now available on the Global SDG Awards website. You can also follow the Global SDG Awards on social media for daily examples of corporate responsibility leadership.

Is your company an SDG leader?


Demand Equity

Global Competition Honors the Best Companies Working Toward a Sustainable Future