SDG #3: Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all
Sustainable Development Goals Blog Series
On January 1st, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. Over the next 15 years, with these 17 goals, countries will combine efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. In this article we aim to familiarize you with SDG Goal #3: Good health and well-being, and what actions your organization can take to achieve this goal.
By Jacqueline Olivier | 25-07-2017
Ensuring healthy and safe lives and promoting the well-being for all, at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Major progress has been made over the past years in combatting child and maternal mortality, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, and fighting against life threatening diseases. However, there is still a lot of work to do. This is why SDG #3 focuses on the following: Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
SDG #3 is also linked to various other SDGs. For example, SDG 2 (Zero hunger) & SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation) as hunger, infected water and unhygienic living conditions can affect the health of people and could lead to infectious diseases. Another link exists with SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), since unemployed individuals tend to have worse physical and mental conditions.
At Deloitte, we believe that innovation is necessary to survive. This applies to all facets of an organisation – and sustainability practices are one of them. But thinking that sustainable innovation is important is one thing; releasing money and resources for innovation goes a step further. The art is to develop new products and services that meet customer needs – healthy and safe lives in case of SDG 3. Applying innovation in ensuring healthy lives can therefore provide organisations with many possibilities. Innovation can open up markets, lead to a new set of customers, and can also expand the product assortment. But most of all: it can give an organisation a competitive advantage as opposed to its competitors. Initiating an innovation that relates to healthy lives and well-being can therefore not only help organisations, but also those in need for a healthier and safer life.
Increased productivity & employee satisfaction
Safety is a fundamental human right throughout an individual’s daily life, as can be seen in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. This means that a safe working environment is essential as it positively contributes to the health of an organisation’s employees. Besides, it is also beneficial for the organisation itself since a safe working environment increases productivity, employee retention rates, employee satisfaction and a positive brand image. The latter is based on the fact that Health & Safety is increasingly integrated in sustainability reporting practices, which creates transparency and builds trust with various stakeholders. All of the previously mentioned factors are subsequently reflected in an organisation’s overall performance. The higher the productivity and employee satisfaction, the more likely it is that an organisation will flourish in the market.
One way to use innovation in creating healthier lives is to develop or invest in food technology. For example, micronutrient innovation. Micronutrients are essential building blocks that have a profound impact on health. While they are only required in tiny quantities, micronutrients are the essential building blocks of healthy bones, brains and bodies. There are some companies that have developed effective micronutrient delivery systems that are culturally appropriate and cost-effective, such as fortified rice kernels with encapsulated micronutrients (DSM, 2017). It is especially attractive to developing countries as it is a relatively cheap food product that can be locally sourced by smallholder farmers. This example of food technology could significantly increase health in developing countries, which subsequently will lead to a decrease in mortality rates.
Although one might think that Health & Safety improvements are only necessary in developing countries – there is still a lot of work to do in developed countries as well. But how does one develop a safety culture? In both cases, organisations can analyse accidents that occurred in the past. This can reveal which 20% of the hazards cause 80% of the accidents on the work floor – also known as a Pareto Analysis. These hazards can consist of mechanical, physical, chemical, psychological and electrical hazards. An organisation can identify them by means of safety audits, workplace inspections, accident/incident investigations and safety analytics such as predictive modelling. Once these hazards have been determined, a plan should be established to decrease their potential threat. An organisation can increase safety by, for example, replacing equipment, developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and by providing work procedure, skills, and on-the-job training. However, it is essential to have management commitment and a skilled support management team that implements the safety plan. This way it is more likely that safety plans are successful, and that health and wellbeing is ensured for employees in both developed and developing countries.
The previously mentioned examples are just two ways of how organisations can contribute to the achievement of SDG 3. It is up to organisations themselves to explore the wide array of possibilities, and to determine which actions fit their organisation's business model best. Have you already started exploring?
Sustainable Development Goals Blog Series
This blog is part of the Sustainable Development Blog Series: a blog series that highlights the 17 SDGs one by one on a biweekly basis. In these blogs you will find more information about each SDG, why it is important for your organisation to contribute to the achievement of it, and specific examples of how you can do that.
For more information about the Sustainable Development Goals and what your organisation can do to contribute, please contact Anne Huibrechtse-Truijens via firstname.lastname@example.org / +31882882071