Sustainable Development Goals

We support the ambitions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals.

The vision of the Global Goals international action plan is to set out a positive vision for the future - to tackle poverty and inequality and promote sustainable development across the world.  There are 17 Global Goals which form the basis of a global partnership for sustainable development.

Our latest Impact Report celebrates our work in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to sign up to adopting the Global Goals in 2015.  More than 190 countries have now signed up to the vision to end poverty, hunger, inequality and to protect the environment.

We play an active role in the implementation of the Scottish sustainable development agenda through our work on sustainability and climate change, local environmental quality, sustainable development education, and food and the environment. Sustainable development is at the heart of our vision, mission and strategic objectives. In aligning our work to the Global Goals, we have a clear view on how we contribute to, support, and promote understanding of, and engagement with, sustainable development. We are committed to evidencing and demonstrating how our activities contribute to the Global Goals.

Across our own activities we have identified where we have the biggest potential to contribute to the 17 Global Goals and their 169 targets. We have identified eight key goals that we can strongly evidence contribution to.

The goals we contribute to are:

Quality Education

Goal 4 is about ensuring inclusive and fair quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. We provide a range of education initiatives for children, young people and educators.

Our Eco-Schools programme and wider education work support two of the targets – one about developing skills for success and another about providing sustainable development education and global citizenship skills.       


Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 6 focuses on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation. Through our work, we support the target to improve water quality, waste water treatment and safe reuse. 

Our My Beach, Your Beach campaign aims to raise awareness of the polluting impacts from dog fouling, or from gulls which are encouraged by feeding and leaving litter.


Decent Work and Economic Growth

We promote full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Our Canal College programme is helping people across Scotland learn the skills and build the confidence they need to unlock their full potential. Through our own policies we ensure that we support volunteers, interns and employees equally.


Sustainable Cities and Communities

Making cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is the key ambition of Goal 11. Our work meets two of the targets for this goal – protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage and providing access to safe and inclusive green and public spaces. 

We support the private and public sectors, communities and individuals across Scotland to help create and maintain cleaner, safer and more sustainable local environments. Our activities range from projects encouraging biodiversity, to promoting sustainable food growing to helping communities reduce carbon emissions and improve local environmental quality.


Responsible Consumption and Production

This goal focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Our work supports four targets for this goal – sustainable management and use of resources, sustainable reduction of waste, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and reporting, and promoting universal understanding of sustainable lifestyles. 

Across our Sustainable Development Education and Sustainability and Climate Change themes we undertake a range of activities to actively promote a reduction in consumption; encouraging the reuse of items, extending the life of everyday items through repair and maintenance support and encouraging the recycling of materials.


Climate Action   

This goal is about us all taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. A significant part of our work supports one of the targets for this goal – building knowledge and capacity to mitigate, adapt and reduce the impact of climate change. We work with organisations and communities to help people to reduce their carbon emissions, to improve local areas and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

For example, we have developed Scotland’s first accredited Carbon Literacy training course, in partnership with the Carbon Literacy Project, enabling people to build confidence and identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. We also manage and administer the Climate Challenge Fund a Scottish Government grant programme.  Through this we provide support, resources and training and organise events to support community groups taking action on climate change.  In 2019 we also launched Climate Ready Classrooms to help prepare young people to join a national network of carbon literate ambassadors who plan and act on climate change issues within their own schools and communities.


Life Below Water

This goal is about how we conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Upstream Battle, our innovative campaign to tackle marine litter at source contributes to the target of reducing marine pollution.  


Partnerships for the Goals

For the Global Goals to be success, partnership and working together is a key part of the process. Our work supports the target about encouraging and supporting effective partnerships.  We strive to maintain effective relationships with communities and organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

We also play an active role attending and contributing to other networks across Scotland and Europe.  These include the SDG Scotland Network, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and Foundation of Environmental Education. 

We believe that all sectors in Scotland, national and local government, the private sector, communities our education networks, and third sector organisations need to work together over the next 15 years, to help realise the global ambition of the goals. 

We look forward to working with others to ensure we all play our part.

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