On 25 September 2023, hundreds of UK organisations raise an SDG flag to show their support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This September will mark eight years since the world embraced the SDGs. Also known as the Global Goals, they reflect a shared objective and ambition across all countries to:

  • end poverty and hunger everywhere;
  • combat inequalities within and among countries;
  • build peaceful, just, and inclusive societies;
  • protect human rights;
  • promote gender equality of women and girls;
  • ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources by 2030.

The 17 Goals are supported by 169 targets and 232 indicators, enabling progress to be prioritised and tracked.

The Sustainable Development Goals at Essex

On 25 September we are joining hundreds of businesses, government departments, and civil society organisations in a global movement to showcase an SDG flag to spread awareness of the SDGs and mobilise stakeholders for the 2030 agenda.

"At Essex we are proud to showcase the SDG flag. The SDGs are an easily identifiable framework, providing us with a global language for enabling associations between academic disciplines and real-world concerns. They are central to our development of staff and student knowledge, skills, and competencies for sustainability. By engaging with the SDGs, we are enabling our Essex community to recognise their capabilities as sustainable citizens. Our staff and students are being empowered to become future change agents for sustainability" (Michel Mason, Sustainability Engagement Manager).

"What strikes me most about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is their stark interconnection. As VP Education at the Students Union, it may be obvious that the goal of Quality Education is in my remit and is something I passionately fight for everyday at Essex. However, without the other goals like Zero Hunger, Climate Action, and Reduced Inequalities, the vision for Quality Education is challenged. The Sustainable Development Goals inspire us to think bigger and do better. Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals, is needed more than ever as we strive towards sustainable development. We can do it, but we must do it together. Everybody has a role to play, and I know that students of Essex will be at the forefront of a future of sustainability and growth." (Joe Holmes, VP Education).

In December 2022 we signed the SDG accord. The SDG Accord calls on the world's universities and colleges to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into their education, research, leadership, operations, administration, and engagement activities.

Signing up to the SDGs commits Essex to achieving aspirational levels of sustainability for students, staff and the wider community. You can see what action we've taken since on our Sustainable Development Goals webpage.

Progress across the UK

In the UK, there have been some significant milestones towards the SDGs. In 2022, the UN Global Compact Network UK released Measuring Up 2.0, a multi-stakeholder report assessing the UK's performance against the SDGs and their Targets to understand how and where businesses, government, and other organisations should focus efforts for the remainder of this decade of action.

The report found of the 132 Targets relevant to the domestic delivery of the SDGs, the UK is only performing well on 17% of them. It highlighted how persistent inequalities within and between communities in the UK mean that we continue to leave people and places behind. It is because of this that the 2030 Agenda is more important than ever, and worldwide collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society organisations essential.

With only 1 in 10 people in Britain familiar with the SDGs, raising the SDG flag this September is key to raising awareness and mobilising stakeholders for action. Join the global movement in championing the SDGs so together the 2030 Agenda can be achieved!