In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The purpose of these goals is to promote partnership working among the 193 United Nations member states to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, including: reducing inequality, eradicating poverty, tackling climate change and improving health and education.
Here at Essex, we are committed to achieving these goals and, for the second time, we are presenting another report to show what we are doing, as an institution, to meet every one of them. Our report shows how, through research and education, as well as how we operate as an organisation, we are making a difference to the goals.
We are among 300+ global signatories of the SDG Accord. The SDG Accord focuses on UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals, to revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development. We are committed to embedding the Development Goals into our education, research, leadership, operations, administration, and engagement activities.
For the second time, we are presenting a dedicated report which sets out the actions we are taking to deliver progress in meeting each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is not just what we do through excellence in education and excellence in research that makes a difference to the goals, but also how we operate as an organisation with a better, more sustainable future at the forefront of our thinking.
"Every decision made by our committees includes a mandatory analysis of the impact it will have on the environment, equality and diversity. From the changes we have made in reducing and recycling the waste from our campuses, to the direct action we have taken to address the gender pay gap, we are constantly improving the way we do things and the choices we make in becoming a more sustainable organisation."
The report explains the methods we have used to measure sustainable development. Essex produces almost 1,900 academic research publications per year and has over 3,000 degree programmes. At this scale, manually mapping each of the goals against all of our publications and degrees is impractical.
In the interests of consistency and objectivity we have measured our progress with the goals by using independently established keyword sets to search our research publications and education materials for relevant content. This is explained in more detail in the report.
For each of the Sustainable Development Goals, we have highlighted a case study which shows the progress we are making in meeting them.
We have divided these into two categories: research and action. They highlight our world-leading research in key areas and actions the University itself is taking – our policies, or our world-leading centres.
There are many more examples of work in these areas which we were unable to highlight in one report, but here is a sample of what we are doing to achieve these all-important goals.