The target of SDG 8 is to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all (1). Therefore, goal 8 is necessary in order to create decent jobs for everyone, improve living standards, social protection, and consequently drive economic growth.
However, even before the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the average growth of the global economy had already decelerated (2). One in five countries was already inclined to see per capita incomes stagnate or decrease in 2020 (3).
As a result, the economic and financial collapse together with COVID-19, are derailing the already tepid economic growth and compounding heightened risks from other factors (3).
Nowadays, even though the global economy is in the process of recovering, the pandemic has had a massive impact on working conditions (2).
There are still people who don’t have access to decent work conditions, facing situations associated with poverty, inequality, and even discrimination. Besides that, especially workers with disabilities, women, youth, migrants, and so on, are vulnerable to abuses in the workplace (4).
We already discussed gender inequality in working environments in our article about SDG 5 (‘gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls).
In addition to that, over 60 percent of all workers don’t have any kind of employment contract. Less than 45 percent of salaried workers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis and on top of that, this number is now decreasing (4).
Employment, decent work for all and social protection
SDG 8 expresses its concerns about decent working conditions, employment creation, social protection, right at work, and social dialogue. Therefore one of the targets of this goal is to “protect labour rights and promote a safe and secure working environment for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment” (5).
However, the world is still far away from achieving this goal. Currently, about half of the world’s population has only US$ 2 to survive a day (6).
In addition, according to the United Nations (UN), approximately 2.2 billion people live below the poverty line, which makes it even harder to find a decent job position. Around the world, there are 200 million unemployed people, and 1.4 billion people have a vulnerable job with 783 million people working poor (8).
So, employment, decent work for all and social protection are also related to the economic growth of a country, as the UN states that “sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the condition that allows people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment” (6).
Moreover, good working conditions contribute to the increased access to health care, education, and participation in decision-making.
Sustainable tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environmental and host communities” (7).
Investing in tourism is important because it is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, not to mention it is a source of foreign exchange and employment. Tourism is also related to the social, economic and environmental well-being of many countries, including developing countries (7).
Having said that, one of the targets of SDG 8 is to “devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products by 2030” (1).
However, due to the pandemic, in 2020, international arrivals decreased by 74 percent compared to 2019, representing a loss of $ 1.3 trillion in inbound tourism expenditure (2).
That is why in order to achieve SDG 8, it is extremely necessary to invest and support sustainable tourism activities. These actions have a lot of benefits like promoting environmental awareness, conserving and protecting the environment, respecting wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems, cultural diversity, supporting local economies, to name a few (7).
“Natural” disasters result in several losses including throwing many communities into poverty, damaging human health, biodiversity contamination, destroying food production, and as a consequence affect the country’s economy.
For this reason, in order to support economic growth, it is extremely necessary to preserve the environment as it can lead to new and better employment opportunities at the same time it provides better economic security for all (9) and therefore contributes to the achievement of SDG 8.
Therefore, an important key to sustainable development is the investment in the green economy.
Green economy is related to economic growth, employment, and poverty eradication. In addition, it is also important to keep the healthy functions of the Earth’s ecosystems (10).
With governments trying to find strategies to lead their nations out of financial crises, green economy has been proposed as an accelerator of national policy development, international cooperation, and support for sustainable development (10).
It is now clear the importance of SDG 8 to solve many global problems. So, GründerAtelier will proceed on what entrepreneurs can actually do to help to achieve goal 8.
Actions that companies can take to achieve SDG 8
Companies are the key to the countries’ economic growth, as they create jobs, enable investments in innovation, together with more products and services options, and so on. However, it is the business’s responsibility to guarantee decent work, gender equality, no discrimination, and support diversity through their employees.
Here, we list some behaviours companies should implement to aim for the achievement of SDG 8 and therefore, promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
- Invest in training and workshops for all employees, to make it possible for them to have the qualifications necessary for professional development.
- Promote policy against unfair hiring and recruitment practices. For example, recruitment based on gender, race, or nationality.
- Have strategies to identify child labour and forced labour throughout global supply chains, and implement remediation when abuses are discovered.
- Provide a favourable working environment.
- Ensure the safety of employees at work.
The implementation of these actions will not only help the achievement of SDG 8 but also will bring many benefits to your organization, like establishing a positive reputation and creating a good experience for your employees, as well as improving life quality.
Sources: (11) and (2).
Companies to take inspiration from
Having explained the importance of promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all, we separated a list of companies that are making moves toward SDG 8 for you to take inspiration from.
SPECTRAFORCE is an award-winning global and consulting firm that supports more than one hundred Fortune 1000 clients for contingent, direct hire, and statement of world services.
The company develops and implements breakthrough talent sourcing technologies, using Robotic and Artificial Intelligence aiming to attract talented candidates across IT, clinical, engineering, scientific and professional categories.
Therefore, SPECTRAFORCE creates a culture of joy, fulfilment and meaningful contribution to the world.
OVAMBA is an American company co-founded by Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole with the mission to support central African economies by improving access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The company provides financial access and capital markets to more small and medium-sized businesses, and for this reason, it is responsible for helping SMBs to grow once it gives them tools to invest in their future.
Code for your life
Code your life is a German company that makes programming and computer science exciting for boys and girls from the age of eight.
The YouthSpark is one of the many activities around the company that aims to give 300 million young people around the world better access to education and technology over the period of three years. Which consequently, helps them to start their careers.
In other words, YouthSpark supports young people in discovering and using their full potential by opening up new opportunities for them.
Source: Code for your life website.
Daily life attitudes to promote SDG 8
Besides the attitudes explained before, there are some actions we can take in our daily life to contribute to the achievement of SDG 8 and promote decent work and economic growth.
- Report any type of discrimination in the work environment or in the recruitment process, poor working conditions, child labour, and forced labour.
- Support small and local businesses.
- When travelling, include sustainable tourism alternatives in your trip.
- Help to protect the environment, for example, conserve electricity, use fewer chemicals, recycle properly, consume less, and so on.
GründerAtelier’s Impact Accelerator
This was the sixth article of our SDGs series, which aims to make the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals easy to put into practice for startups and entrepreneurs, in general.
If you are in charge or work for an impact-related startup that supports one or multiple SDGs you can apply to our Impact Accelerator where we will guide you through the journey to become investment-ready and, then, introduce you to our VC partners.
(1) Sustainable Development Goals. (n.d.). United Nations, 4. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals. Accessed on 12/08/21.
(2) Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (2021). United Nations, 2021. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal8. Accessed on 20/08/21.
(3) Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. (n.d.). United Nations, 1–3. Retrieved from https://unric.org/en/sdg-8/. Accessed on 19/08/21.
(4) SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (2020). SDG Compass. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780367814960-8. Accessed on 12/08/21.
(5) Employment, decent work for all and social protection. (n.d.). United Nations. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/topics/employment-decent-work-all-and-social-protection. Accessed on 12/08/21.
(6) Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth. (2019b). Monash University. Retrieved from https://www.monash.edu/msdi/sustainable-development/sustainable-development-goals/decent-work. Accessed on 15/08/21.
(7)Sustainable tourism. (n.d.). United Nations. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/topics/sustainable-tourism. Accessed on 22/08/21.
(8) Decent work and economic growth. (n.d.). European Commission. Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/sdg/decent-work-and-economic-growth_en
(9) Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth. (2019a). UN Environment Programme, 1–5. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/sustainable-development-goals/why-do-sustainable-development-goals-matter/goal-8. Accessed on 13/08/21.
(10) Green economy. (n.d.). United Nations. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/topics/green-economy
(11) Mowery, L. (2021). SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth : How Businesses Can Put Workers First and Grow Profits. Retrieved from https://greenbusinessbureau.com/topics/sdg/sdg-8-decent-work-and-economic-growth-how-businesses-can-put-workers-first-and-grow-profits/.Accessed on 22/08/21.
(12) 17 Companies Helping Meet the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. (2019). Founder Institute. Retrieved from https://fi.co/insight/17-companies-helping-meet-the-17-un-sustainable-development-goals. Accessed on 24/08/21.