In September the United Nations launched the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Developed with input from the business community and agreed by all member states of the UN, the SDGs comprise 17 ambitious goals and 169 targets that seek to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote economic growth and prosperity, improve health and education, and protect the planet. Critical ambitions, at a critical time.

SDG Goals

Today in Sydney Telstra was proud to host the Australian launch of the SDG compass. Jointly developed by the UN Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Compass has been introduced to help organisations to align their strategic thinking to the SDGs, as well as measure and manage their contribution towards achieving them.

Telstra welcomes the introduction of the SDGs and the SDG Compass and like most companies, we are now turning our thoughts to how we can apply the SDGs to our business context.

What is clear is that technology, as a key enabler, will have a central role to play in the achievement of the SDGs. It’s been pleasing to discover the close alignment between the SDGs and some of our core sustainability programs, including our newly launched Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The centrepiece of our RAP is a $30 million co-investment with the NT Government to deliver new mobile and broadband services for remote communities. This investment will help to achieve Goal 9: build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation; and by keeping people connected will also help to achieve many others, such as ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education (Goal 4).

Telstra has also partnered with the NT Government to build a National Telehealth Connection Service, including quality and secure video conferencing to bring specialist medical care to some of Australia’s most remote communities. This initiative will help to achieve Goal 3: promote healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Through inclusive, proactive recruitment, such as our aim to double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Telstra over a three year period, we’ll help to achieve Goal 8: to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

The SDGs offer business a common framework for considering and addressing the world’s most significant development challenges. Now launched, the SDG compass will assist businesses to identify the role they can play in driving the innovative change required to turn these goals into reality.