Sustainable Development Goals in funeral business

sustainable development goals of un
Photo by Irina Iriser in Pexels

Resorting to Sustainable Development Goals in a funeral home, as well as in any other industries, implies a change in the work system, which despite not being as radical as it could have been initially feared, makes a clear qualitative difference regarding the competition. And if the short-medium term benefits are not enough incentive, there is always the satisfaction of knowing that we are leaving a better world to future generations.

Sustainable Development Goals explained

Sustainable Development Goals are an initiative promoted by the United Nations to, according to the agency itself, “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030”.

When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) became outdated, the UN member states met to devise a new plan to solve the mankind’s major problems. After a year of negotiations, on 25 September 2015, the General Assembly presented the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets that make up the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, which took effect on 1 January 2016.

These SDG goals include challenges such as climate change, women’s empowerment, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace. This is a challenge for both developed and developing countries, which means that about 170 states and territories around the world are working to introduce the Sustainable Development Goals, thanks to the cooperation of businesses, citizens, non-profit institutions and official agencies such as the United Nations Development Program.

The Challenge: Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Sustainable development goals explained

  1. End poverty.
  2. End hunger.
  3. Ensure a healthy life and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  4. Ensure an inclusive, equitable and quality education.
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Ensure the availability of water and its sustainable management.
  7. Ensure access to affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy.
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  9. Inclusive and sustainable industrialization.
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and sustainable.
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its effects.
  14. Conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.
  15. Protect, restore, and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies.
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Development Goals in a company or funeral home

Making the world a better place through Sustainable Development Goals by United Nations requires the collaboration of governments, the private sector, civil society, and citizens concerned about leaving a liveable planet for their children and grandchildren.

Everyone can collaborate in the implementation of these Sustainable Development Goals with simple gestures such as living in a more active way, avoiding the waste of resources and using non-contaminating means of transport. In fact, the UN itself has produced The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World, with measures that don’t even require moving from the couch.

At the business and funeral level, there are also multiple initiatives to collaborate in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. It is possible to change production patterns and reduce their negative impact on the environment with a relatively small investment. In addition, a sustainable corporate strategy always results in greater long-term benefits.

Why implement Sustainable Development Goals in business?

Firstly, managing resources in an ecological way means less expenditure. If less paper, light, water and raw materials are wasted, the product is used in a better way, production costs are reduced and less waste is generated, which results in greater medium-long term profitability.

An efficient physical structure with good thermal insulation, natural light or good orientation, means saving a considerable amount of energy. The most traditional example is that of the wineries, which take advantage of the underground to maintain the right temperature for winemaking without the need to use electric refrigerators.
In addition to cost reduction, incorporating Sustainable Development Goals into business strategy can attract customers who prefer to use an environmentally committed funeral service provider, just as they already purchase natural, pesticide-free foods or purchase goods made by local producers.

Last but not least, Sustainable Development Goals promote an ideal work environment for employees to keep a mood that ensures greater bonding and productivity with the company or funeral home.

Sustainable Development Goals in a company: examples

To integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in a company or funeral home, one must start by analysing aspects to be improved. Based on this analysis, short, medium and long term goals are set. It is possible that some of these goals require investment, so we should also establish a budget to carry them out.

  • Start with goals that only require small changes in the daily routine: avoiding printing unnecessary documents, not leaving lights on in empty rooms, turning off computers at night, fixing dripping taps and cisterns…
  • Choose energy-efficient heating and cooling and adjust the thermostat to a lower level in winter and a higher level in summer.
  • Start a gradual transition of your fleet to electric, hybrid or low CO2 impact vehicles. The fact that a high percentage of funeral services are short distance helps its implementation. In addition, it helps to eliminate noise during the ceremonies, as well as the disappearance of smoke in cases where the procession is behind the hearse.
  • Offer ecological coffins, which do not contain plastic materials or synthetic polymers. Remember that these materials end up incinerated or underground, with the consequent release of toxic substances into the environment.
  • Try to take advantage of the energy generated during the cremation process by means of cogeneration processes. You can also choose to change the cremation for other methods with less impact.
  • Raise your voice against all types of discrimination in your office. All people are equal regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, social origin and physical ability.
  • Try to reduce the waste generated by your business as much as possible and bet on recycling. With regard to cleaning products, check if you are using biodegradable and environmentally friendly detergents and soaps.
  • Corporate social responsibility is important. Encourage yourself to collaborate with civil society and find ways to help local communities achieve their goals.

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