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March 2021

Making Good Business Big, And Big Business Better

In September 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is a universal agenda, a plan of action for the people and planet and contains the 17 SDGs. These UN’s 17 sustainable development goals are the global blueprint for change. They are a ‘design brief for the 21st century', but… 

…We are 5 years in – less than 10 years remain until 2030 – and clearly not on track to deliver on the SDGs. 93% of all listed companies in the Netherlands talk about the SDGs in their annual reports, but only 13% set specific and measurable targets. At Fronteer, we believe enterprise can, and should, be a force for good. It is time to unleash their potential for positive impact in this ‘decade of action.’

Decade of Action

The Decade of Action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges – ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap. More and more companies understand that they no longer can “get wavy” with complying with regulations. It is in their best interest to move up the score; for their position and reputation as a brand, for both business and consumer, to attract the next generations of talent and simply because we are running out of resources.

There are several models & frameworks out there, like Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economy and ESG. However, companies are increasingly seeking to align their efforts towards ‘positive impact’ with the SDGs framework, which is internationally acknowledged and relatively easy to understand. The challenge they now face is: how to translate purpose, ambitions and strategies into a meaningful, measurable and possibly even auditable set of metrics and actions.

That’s why our founder James Veenhoff and our deeply admired friend-of-the-company Mitra van Raalte initiated the SDG Impact Collective last summer. Why? ‘Everyone’ is talking about the SDGs, but only a few organisations manage to embed them convincingly into their strategies and operations.


SDG Impact Collective

Why a collective? Because we believe that the only way to make an impact is by forming clever coalitions. The SDG Impact Collective is a collective of kindred spirit companies, experts, and agencies, bringing together colleagues (young & old), key stakeholders, topic experts, and future change-makers to co-create impact and progress for the SDGs. As the SDG Impact Collective we will help companies develop inspiring, actionable and measurable strategies towards impact.

In order to do so, we created a work process that we call the ‘Impact Cycle’. In this collaborative process, we go through 5 stages: scope, develop, initiate, scale, roll-out. We move on from ‘understanding your SDG footprint’ to ‘unleash your full potential’, ‘set new standards’ and ‘make impact’.

Two of our best impact cases of 2020

  • Rainforest Alliance
    Looking beyond the scope of their current business, the Rainforest Alliance was looking to develop new directions for growth with relevance in the future world. Using our future vision framework, we helped the Rainforest Alliance to envision the future of their business and their role within it. By imagining the world in 2030 and leveraging on Rainforest Alliance strength as a connector of people and organisations, we developed a vision as a coalition builder for the future.

  • Kruisbestuivers
    The world needs biodiversity. Everything in nature is connected, and the fine balance between species is essential for their – and our – survival. Balanced ecosystems provide us with oxygen, food, clean water, health, and beauty. Green spaces in cities reduce heat stress, absorb water, fight pests, and help us unwind as we enjoy them. Together with VolkerWessels, the Province of South Holland and research institute Naturalis, we created the project Cross-pollinators. This project was about solutions in order to make biodiversity ‘the new normal’ in construction. Our partners in this project have been Art Partner and Openers. One of the results: a quick start guide for nature inclusive building. A practical manual with which clients and construction companies can work on a green ambition, through a very concrete workshop approach that fuels the imagination.

Green energy. Clean mobility. Sustainable cotton. True-cost travel. Local food. Demand will come from consumers, but the offer must come from companies. We will help companies by co-creating inspiring, actionable and measurable strategies towards SDG impact.

Curious to learn more? Please feel free to contact us or read more on the SDG Impact Collective website.

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