• Caterina Sullivan

Why Aren't Sustainability Silos Beneficial?



We have previously discussed why sustainability must be a core focus of business, not just a side function of an organisation, and the importance of integrating sustainability at every level.

As important as it is to approach business and sustainability holistically, it is just as important to approach the concept of sustainability itself in the same way.

At Strategic Sustainability Consultants, we look at the concept of sustainability on three levels: economic, social and environmental. While we categorise sustainability into three separate areas, we do not silo them. Instead, we look at an integrated approach to all three areas.


Above is the diagram we use to explain where each of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development sits between economic, social and environmental sustainability. However, it is important to note that each of the goals requires the achievement of the other goals in order to be achieved in itself. The agenda is a unified road map towards sustainability throughout all levels of society. It is important to ensure your organisation’s sustainability strategy reflects this unified approach.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your sustainability strategy doesn’t fall into the trap of planning and reporting in sustainability silos.

Be policy-orientated

By focusing on your organisation’s policies and commitments and reporting on how those core functions of your business are addressing sustainability, not only will you be demonstrating your organisation prioritises sustainability as a integral part of your business practices, but you will be communicating this in a way in which it is understood that these policies address more than just one area of sustainability and more than just one goal within the 2030 Agenda.

Focus on targets and indicators, not goals

The 17 Global Goals are accompanied by 169 targets and 232 measurable indicators. These targets and indicators look at the more specific aspects of the 169 goals and are vital for understanding sustainability away from the prism of silos. By focusing your commitments and reporting on the targets and indicators within the 2030 Agenda as opposed to the goals themselves, you will find your approach to sustainability will be more holistic.

To learn more about the importance of your business stepping away from the siloing of sustainability or understanding how you can do this to further the efforts of your organisation’s sustainability commitment, contact us today!

This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.

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Authorised by Caterina Sullivan (2018)

PO Box 6157

O'CONNOR ACT 2602

Australia