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, 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, 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 #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) or SDG #15 (Life on Land) could on the surface appear to encompass water rights.
    • A closer look, however, reveals that SDG #10 is more focused on creating safe, sustainable and resilient settlements and cities.
    • Likewise, SDG #15 is more focused on conservation, biodiversity, halting desertification.
  • SDG #6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) is actually a better fit, for the complete title reads, "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all," and targets 6.4 through 6.6 reflect the issues at hand.

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 #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG #10 (Reduced Inequality), or SDG #16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions). Reading the targets and indicators will help you decide which one or two fits best with the focus of your argument.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals can be found at

  • To see the complete title, hover the cursor over the SDG.
  • To see the targets and indicators of a goal, click on an SDG to see it's page and then click on the "Targets and Indicators" tab.

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