What are Sustainable Development Goals?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Great! Where Does Vyra Fit in?
We wanted to align with the SDGs to show our commitment to sustainable development. Additionally, the SDGs provide us with a more rigid framework by which we can set and measure argets. The very first step for us in our SDG journey was to learn more about each of the goals, the relevant targets, and the KPIs to see how they are directly and indirectly related to our business activities. Although each of the goals are important in global sustainable development, we felt it would be most appropriate to align with those that we felt we could have a positive impact on directly. By starting off with a limited amount of goals, it allows us to concentrate our efforts to achieve higher targets, and also enables greater collaboration with other companies seeking to align with SDGs.
What SDGs have Vyra Aligned with?
For us, it was important to prioritise SDGs related to the projects we were undertaking and could therefore influence. We decided to align with the following four goals:
- SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
This is perhaps the goal that aligns closest with our vision of making sustainability more accessible for businesses and their employees, and is directly linked to our main offering – The Vyra Platform. At its core, the Vyra Platform is an interactive educational tool that empowers individuals, teams and businesses to become more sustainable in their everyday lives – both inside and outside of the office environment. The platform teaches users about their carbon footprint and guides them towards making more environmentally friendly choices on a daily basis. By taking part in the Vyra Platform, users become empowered to reduce their carbon footprint through four main areas: travel; energy management; dietary choices; and consumption. One of our key targets within this goal is to empower 1 million sustainable choices through our platform by 2025.
- SDG 13 – Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and its impacts
This SDG was embedded in our vision for Vyra long before we chose to align with it. We fundamentally believe that the Vyra Platform has the capacity to change the way the world thinks about and interacts with sustainability. By engaging with the Vyra Platform and committing to Vyra ‘Pledges’, you are showing your commitment to combating climate change and its impacts – and reducing your carbon footprint on a daily basis.
Although Vyra Pledges may seem insignificant to you, collectively they add up. If 1 million people were to choose to eat a standard vegetarian meal on one occasion instead of meat, they would save approximately 1,127 tons of CO2 eq. together. By empowering you and your team to make these daily choices, and by creating a global network of teams that use the Vyra Platform, we can make a significant difference in the world.
- SDG 14 – Life Below Water
This is a goal we decided to align with when undertaking the VyraForest project, which you can read more about here. The VyraForest is bisected by a beautiful river that runs through to the sea close by. By enhancing the quality of this river, we hope to preserve the biodiversity of not only the river itself, but also of the marine setting into which it flows a few kilometres away. The VyraForest is situated near both agricultural land and a busy commuter network. To avoid potential contamination, we chose to set targets that align with this SDG. One of our key aims in this regard is to maintain the water quality of the river and improve it where possible. One such example of this has been the planting of a buffer zone adjacent to the commuter belt, which we hope will prevent
potential contamination from motorists in the coming years. Additionally, having both been fortunate enough to have grown up near the coast, we are committed to preserving the quality of the marine setting beside the VyraForest. In a post-covid world, we want to engage the local community to organise regular beach clean ups to rid the area of waste, which proves harmful to marine life.
- SDG 15 – Life on Land
This goal is directly linked to the ecology and biodiversity enhancement work undertaken in VyraForest. Our commitment is to restore natural woodland over 25 acres and to enhance biodiversity of the area.
Forests have a significant role in reducing the risk of natural disasters, including floods, droughts, landslides and other extreme events. At global level, forests mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air and protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide. Investing in forests and forestry represent an investment in people and their livelihoods, especially the rural poor, youth and women. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
The VyraForest presents us with an opportunity to focus on one relatively small piece of nature and to do our best to improve it. In this sense, it helps us to take climate action in a way that’s accessible to us, and also allows us to educate others along the way. For us, the value of the VyraForest lies not
only in the physical restoration of the area, but also in the opportunity to help others re-establish their connection to the natural world along the way.