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How do social enterprises impact the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals & what do they really mean?

The catchily-named UN Sustainable Development Goals are 17 targets, created to improve the wellbeing of people and our planet. After the widespread worldwide failure in meeting the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000, 193 UN members came together in 2015 and pledged to change their national agendas to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

The aim is to meet these targets by the year 2030, their intent being to encourage sustainable and collaborative progress. The goals are wide in scope, addressing issues of poverty, gender equality, climate change, innovation of energy and industry, and more!

How can social enterprises help?

To achieve these massive targets, the Sustainable Development Goals highlight that all stakeholders big and small (including you and me!) must pitch in for the improved prosperity of people and planet.

Social enterprises now make up £60bn (5%) of the UK’s GDP! Because of this new and growing influence, Social Enterprises are being championed as a key contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals. With tendencies towards creative problem-solving and change-making, it has been said that Social Enterprises like TuffCycle have the ability to shift mindsets on important issues, creating an “everyone a changemaker world”. They encourage everyone - from multinational companies to individual customers - to make a positive change.

With so much work to do to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, we got to thinking, how can social enterprises - TuffCycle in particular - make an impact?

How does TuffCycle aim to impact these goals?

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries. The general gist is: equal opportunity should be available to everyone no matter your age, gender, religion, disability, economic status, etc. The aim is to eliminate discrimination, facilitate inclusion, and introduce social protection and equal pay policies.

TuffCycle works with people experiencing homelessness in Sheffield. We believe that securing employment can be a crucial step towards a stable future for everyone - it provides financial security, sense of purpose, and social interaction.

Our aim is to tackle the potential discrimination that people who are currently homeless face when job-seeking by supporting them with meaningful work experience and a mentoring programme to help improve their confidence (particularly around skills and work) and their overall wellbeing. We hope to contribute to Goal 10 by facilitating inclusion in the job market, and thereby eliminating the discrimination and lack of opportunity people face in day-to-day life.

Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Goal 12 is focused on encouraging sustainable and responsible consumption by: using the planet’s natural resources more smartly; increasing rates of recycling and reusing; and by reducing our (currently massive) material footprints.

At TuffCycle, we believe that our products shouldn't have a negative impact on the planet. We design this thinking into our products right from the beginning, considering the materials we use to the way we source them! We also want to work innovatively, so that the production of our products has a positive impact on our local community here in Sheffield. For example, all of our unique wooden chopping boards are made in our workshop in Sheffield from start to finish, and the materials we use to make them are sourced from local businesses where the material might have previously gone to waste. Our way of thinking brings our material footprint close to zero and this responsible approach to making and selling is how we impact Goal 12.

How can you get involved?

Support our work

The best way for you to help is to help out your local ethical businesses and social enterprises. By supporting these businesses - with your money or time! - you can make small but effective impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals by supporting people who think responsibly and creatively.

The TuffCycle online shop has a range of upcycled, local, handmade products. Please check out our shop for lovingly-made wooden chopping boards, wooden phone stands, and our made-to-order coffee, dining and office tables. All of our profits go back into our community projects in Sheffield, so you can feel rest assured that your purchases are helping out people and the planet!