In 2000, the United Nations passed the Millenium Development Goals, eight goals to improve the lives of people in developing nations. In 2014, the U.N. expanded them into the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), interconnected global goals to eliminate the world's most pressing problems from hunger to gender equality.
"The SDGs are the greatest gift the U.N. has given to the world," said Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council and U.N. World Food Program ambassador against hunger.
They are also a boon to businesses, which can use the SDGs to understand the effects of their far-reaching supply chains. Businesses helped develop the SDGs (now called the "Global Goals"), and 7 percent of 2016 sustainability reports included the framework. However, to build "the future society that you want, you have to think of challenges holistically," said Bakker. Here, he discusses how companies can champion more than one of the SDGs to secure a competitive position in the future of the economy.