This week’s blog focusses on Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger. So how can you, the small business owner, assist in achieving this global goal? You may recall, in my previous blog post, Goal 1, No Poverty, I mentioned that the UNDP statement identifies the relationship between several goals, they are interconnected. This goal is closely linked to Goal 1.
Achieving Zero Hunger, starts with ensuring fair and equal pay for workers globally and locally. Employees who can afford the basic necessities of life, such as, food, water, shelter and medicines are likely to afford education for their children. This opportunity will enable future generations to escape extreme poverty and hunger. However, we must not forget that there are several other reasons why people go hungry. The UNDP estimates that there are 695 million people who experience chronic hunger globally as a result of war, environmental degradation, loss of habitat and biodiversity.
Whilst we can’t solve every problem, as a small business owner, what part can you play in achieving zero hunger?
Globally, I refer back to the points I made in Goal 1, fair and equal pay, and equally important, ensuring you have an ethical supply chain. Your supply chain is the difference between a person living in poverty and living a more dignified life.
There are other proactive ways in which your business can get involved. For example, you can contribute by identifying small scale projects for communities where you source your raw materials from or your products are made. A community allotment project, for instance, where people are taught about biodiversity and growing food is a great way of getting involved. Such initiatives will ensure that future generations learn how to protect their local biodiversity and future food sources. Ask yourself, do your supplies come from an area where deforestation is rapidly taking place? Look at offsetting this by teaming up with a project involved in addressing deforestation or reforesting.
One of the basic necessities for life is water. Whilst we may take it for granted, the lack of water due to droughts, urban development and deforestation are major causes of hunger and loss of biodiversity. Not only do people suffer, animals, and plants will also perish. Could your business get involved in water projects? Developing a borehole changes the life of many people around the world. For example, young girls and women who are tasked with fetching water miles from where they live could instead be in school. Access to water nearby also enables farmers and nomadic tribes to green their fields and keep their livestock and ultimately, their livelihood going. There are a number of charities in the UK currently supporting the development of boreholes and wells worldwide. Contact them and get involved. The two that I am aware of are, Penny Appeal and WaterAid UK.
Locally, again, how can you get involved? Firstly, ensure that employees are paid fairly and in accordance with employment regulations. You can further subsidise their wages by offering workplace pensions, bonus schemes and discounts. There are several foodbanks, soup kitchens and charities that you can work with locally to ensure, people, especially children, in the local community do not go to bed hungry. Donate to such organizations regularly, whether it is staff time or a financial contribution, every small gesture will help.
As a business, what’s in it for you? You can take this as an opportunity to engage with your customers, local community and generate new customers. These initiatives are a way of promoting your business. The more ‘good’ you do for the community, locally and globally, the more your customer will appreciate spending their money with you.
Your business will gradually become a more sustainably conscious company. This can only be a good sign for your business. The world is rapidly changing, so for a business to thrive in the future it will have to start thinking more consciously and make a shift to sustainable business management very quickly. This is a statement that I will repeat in all of my blogs because I believe it is very important for small businesses to understand where we are heading. In order to succeed in the future, your business should start making small changes now, so that the impacts are bigger later.
A few facts about hunger from UNDP:
- 1 in 9 people is undernourished, that’s 795 million worldwide.
- Two thirds of the total of undernourished people live in Asia.
- If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 150 million.
Thank you for reading.