You’ve almost certainly heard of them. And lately they’re on everyone’s lips. Sure “we have to seriously commit to them” and of course “there’s still a lot to do”. But, do we really know what the acronym stands for?
Its quite possible that for a majority of people it’s still a mystery that needs solving. What does seem to emerge is that its something extremely important, that it affects us all directly.
A_ What exactly are they?
“We’ve arrived at a decisive moment in human history”. Ban Ki Moon was categorical in this as the United Nations General Secretary in 2015. His words made reference to the 2030 Agenda presentation, an ambitious plan designed to take on the great challenges of our time and ensure the sustainable development of our society.
To overcome this challenge, a consensual road map was needed to specify what objectives to set and how to achieve them. This is how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born. A series of 17 economic, social, and environmental objectives were agreed upon, which, also included, a set of goals to fulfill before the date that gives the name to the plan itself.
B_ What are they used for?
The main challenge of this new UN strategy is to work on all the fundamental topics that allow us to make our world a better (fairer) place to live in. Give response tofundamental needs such as education, health, job opportunities, gender equality, climate change, or environmental and social protection.
An immense challenge that 198 countries have accepted voluntarily —including Spain— and that counts with the support and active cooperation of companies, not-for-profit organizations, and, of course, from civil society.
C_ Who should take on this challenge?
Without a doubt it’s a shared responsibility. Achieving these objectives requires genuine change in which citizens must also participate. We can all contribute towards making SDGs a reality. Though, of course, it requires solid and true commitment.
We could start by thinking about the number of choices we make on a daily basis. Take a bath or a shower? Normal light bulbs or LED? Simply throw it away or recycle it? Wash the dishes by hand or use the dishwasher? Any person is capable of contributing if they adopt responsible day-to-day behavior.
Notwithstanding, in this commitment with the future, companies have much to say and do. Their work is vital.
D_ What are the challenges in terms of energy?
As you may well imagine, the energy sector plays a significant role in meeting sustainable development objectives. And its advances are fundamental in nearly all the great challenges and opportunities that our present world faces.
In our daily lives we depend on electricity for nearly everything we do. As such, the energy system should provide the most affordable and secure access possible. For example, basic services such as medicine or education, require this guarantee to work.
But there’s more: 1.2 billion people still live without electricity which represents 13% of the world population. Also, around three billion —40% of the world population— still rely on highly contaminating fuels, such as wood or charcoal, to cook or heat food.
Putting an end to this situation requires anenergy transition that counts on efficient production processes with low emissions (such as renewable energies), while contributing to economic and social development to achieve inclusive and quality employment along its value chain.
Repsol, in line with the 2030 Agenda objectives, has decided to center its efforts in six SDGs more closely related with its activity: including SDGs 7, 8, and 13 —of maximum priority— and 6, 9, and 12. To reach its goals it’s already put into action various measures and solutions that respond to each of the challenges.
SDG. 7 | Affordable and clean energy
Committing firmly to offering an energy service with more accessible, safer, and progressively cleaner technologies. For example:
- Developing around 150 energy efficiency improvement projects, each year.
- Contributing to sustainable mobility with the installation of over 1000 electric vehicle charging stations and 700 AutoGas supply points.
- Participating in shared electric mobility through Wible
SDG. 8 | Dignified work and economic growth
Contributing to economic and social development by committing to safe, inclusive, and quality employment throughout its value chain. For example:
- Providing direct employment to 25,000 employees from over 80 countries.
- Operating with nearly 5000 suppliers around the world, 70% of which are local.
- Investing 40 million euros annually in social programs.
SDG. 13 | Climate action
Promoting its role in the energy transition towards a future with low emissions, following the Paris Agreement, alongside the development of more efficient production processes. For example:
- Reducing 3 Mt of CO2 between 2018 and 2025
- Issuing a €500 million euro certified green bond to finance actions that reduce emissions.
- Participating in international initiatives like Climate Clean Air Coalition and Zero Routine flaring by 2030.
SDG. 6 | Clean water and sanitation
Working on comprehensive water management that increases the efficient use of water resources and minimizes its possible impacts. For example:
- Using in-house tools that allow for the identification of risks associated with water use and subsequent implementation of measures that are needed.
- Re-using 30% of water obtained during its activities.
SDG. 9 | Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
Promoting the search of new paths that lead to more sustainable energy production thanks to innovations that transform it more efficiently. For example:
- Promoting open innovation projects, both in-house and collaborative, from its technological lab.
- Investing 80 million euros in research and development (R+D), every year.
SDG. 12 | Responsible production and consumption
Aspiring to manage natural resources, processes, and waste generated through its activities in a comprehensive and logical manner. For example:
- Promoting recycling and re-use with its participation in 10 national and international work groups dedicated to Circular Economy.
- Researching on over 150 in-house eco-design solutions, of which 80 are already a reality
If you want to know more about Repsol’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, click here.