In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as "a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future." As seen from the chart above (and from the sample Executive Summaries posted on the Executive Summary page), the definition of sustainable development encompasses far more than simply the environment because it also addresses human and societal needs.

When looking to match your topic with an SDG, its targets, and indicators, do not rely solely on the short descriptor titles seen on the SDG buttons. You need to look at the complete title, along with the targets and indicators. For example, if your topic concerns water rights, SDG #15 (Life on Land) could on the surface appears to encompass a number of issues, including water rights. A closer look, however, reveals that SDG #15 is focused on conservation, biodiversity, halting desertification, and that SDG #6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) is actually a better fit, for the long title reads: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Sometimes a topic may fall under more than one SDG. For example, if your topic has to do with bias in the workplace, your topic could fall under SDG #5 (Gender Equality), SDG #10 (Reduced Inequality), or SDG #16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions). Reading the targets and indicators will help you decide which one fits best with the focus of your argument.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals can be found at To see the targets and indicators of a goal, click on an SDG to see it's webpage and then click on the "Targets & Indicators" tab:

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Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources to get a better understanding of the SDGs. In addition to the official UN pages, we have included pages showing the connection between SDGs and business, as well as YouTube videos that help give a better understanding of the big picture regarding the SDG goals and how business can be a force for global good.

The SDGs


Connecting Business to the SDGs