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The Sustainable Development Goals: An opportunity for seaports to drive business value - A practical guide

16 juni 2023

On September 25, 2015, the United Nations introduced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, consisting of 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets and 244 indicators. While these goals offer worldwide guidance to governments for establishing relevant national targets, they go beyond the public sector and extend to all societal actors, placing particular importance on non-state actors, such as businesses. The SDGs provide an exceptional opportunity for companies to align their strategies and business models with global sustainable development needs. As vital transport nodes, ports have a critical role to play in achieving many of the goals and are already contributing to several of the primary targets. Although the SDGs were designed to be achieved by 2030, significant gaps still exist, highlighting the need for all organizations to take action. While many organizations have invested in reporting frameworks like global reporting initiative (GRI) or integrated reporting (IR), using the SDGs in parallel or as a replacement can be challenging. These goals are complex by nature and often address global policy issues, making it difficult for corporations to align with their current sustainability frameworks. 

Therefore, this report examines how ports can contribute to achieving the SDGs and presents a framework for the ports to integrate these goals into their business operations. The report begins by discussing how the ports are already contributing to the SDGs and looks towards emerging opportunities. A survey of Swedish ports is also included, which assesses the relevance of each SDG for the port sector, the advantages of working with the SDGs, and the resources required to integrate them into port business operations. The SDGs are 17 interconnected goals that apply universally and serve as a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future. They address various global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice. The report categorizes the SDGs and their relevance to ports into three interconnected categories: goals related to the biosphere, goals related to society, and goals related to the economy. 

Sandra Haraldson, Mikael Lind, Zeeshan Raza, RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden 

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