The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 goals codify our aspirations to move people worldwide out of poverty; eliminate hunger; reduce inequalities; advance gender equity, education and healthcare for all; address climate change, provide affordable and clean energy, and ensure clean water and sanitation; and promote peace, justice, and strong institutions. The SDGs were adopted by the 194 countries of the UN General Assembly in September 2015. They have become the bedrock of corporate strategies for leading companies worldwide.
It is not possible, however, for any company, organization, or individual to support or promote the SDGs without disavowing the hatred that is rearing its hideous head across our nation. Now is the time for every leader—corporate, civic, government, and NGO/nonprofit—to stand up to hate.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without actively protesting against it is really cooperating with it,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Your silence gives consent,” said Plato.
When I work with NGO/nonprofit boards, we “call the mission” as we embark on our strategy and governance work. The mission represents all that the organization stands for. All that the nonprofit aspires to achieve. The mission must be foremost in every board member’s mind in making all decisions. Now is the time for all leaders—corporate, civic, government, and NGO/nonprofit—to call the mission, a mission of peace and justice for all. A mission based on mutual respect for all of God’s children.
Companies, your employees are listening. Your customers are listening. Your communities are listening. The world is listening. You must take a stand. You are accountable.