How IST Will Meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

How IST Will Meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

How IST Will Meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

3 / 7 - 2019

At IST, we believe that everyone is entitled to learn more. As part of creating the best possible prerequisites for allowing learning to take place in the long term, we strive to become a sustainable company. This includes implementing sustainable practices in the development of our products, our investments and business cases, all the way down to the energy usage of IST’s business operations and the day-to-day consumption in offices. Although the process of integrating sustainability within IST is still in its early phase, our goal is to become best in class.

As part of this process, Anne Frederiksen, IST’s Chief People Officer, participated in a panel discussion on how companies in Roskilde, Denmark, can meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the operations of their everyday business.

Roskilde and the Sustainable Development Goals
The SDGs are 17 goals that represent the major global challenges that we currently face, including ending poverty, reducing inequalities, and protecting life on land and below water. At the mini-conference in Roskilde the SDGs were described as a “common agenda for change.” The focus was goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals, which highlights the importance of the efforts of and collaboration between governments, civil society, and the private sector to innovate new solutions to meet these global challenges.

The conference brought focus to the relevance of the role of businesses in the SDG agenda. Businesses were characterized as crucial to developing solutions that address the SDGs. The conference also took the reverse perspective into consideration, presenting the SDGs as opportunities for businesses. Businesses could use the SDGs both as a tool for dialogue between their products and customers, as well as a compass to guide future decision making. In other words, the SDGs need businesses to be drivers for change and businesses need the SDGs to be their road map.

However, adopting the SDGs into one’s business is not as simple as just saying that a company works with goals X and Y. It requires a company to reflect upon how they can genuinely be a sustainable business in the long term. As one of the participants pointed out, the challenges outlined by the SDGs will continue to exist in our lifetimes and in the lifetime of our businesses, which makes it essential to work with sustainability to ensure the resilience of the companies. This requires a critical view inward, and gaining an overview of which areas of a company’s operations have a positive, and negative, impact on the environment and society. This was referred to as “do no harm” and “do more good.”

Three Sustainability Projects at IST
For IST, the road to becoming best in class regarding sustainable business practices has been broken down into three sustainability projects. The first is the IST Environmental Project, which addresses goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and goal 13­­: Climate Action. This will involve adopting the ISO14001 environmental management system strategy and measuring, reducing and offsetting the carbon footprint of IST by the end of 2020. The second project is the Software Sustainability Project, which will focus on goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure to ensure that IST develops its products in the most sustainable way, taking all aspects of the development process into consideration. Finally, the third project is the Core Business Functionality Project, which will direct future business cases to contribute to goal 4: Ensuring Quality Education and goal 10: Reducing Inequalities, so that we in turn can help our customers reach these SDGs through using our products.

Although, relevant SDGs have been identified and internal projects initiated, the process of integrating sustainability within IST is still in its early phase. It will call on employees to work together across groups and departments to start thinking about how sustainability is relevant at many levels in the business. Although this will take a while to implement fully, we must start somewhere, and these projects will be a step to getting us there.