In September 2015, the United Nations convened world leaders at a summit in New York City to make history.  All 193 members of the United Nations agreed and committed to work together in order to fulfill 17 global goals that will serve as a roadmap for improving the entire planet.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided the framework for humanity to join forces from 2015-30 to address the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, sustainable energy, extreme poverty, health, education, gender equality, drinkable water, and economic growth.

To succeed, the SDGs must be clear, digestible, and emotionally resonant—and they must be known across every corner of the planet.  To achieve this aspiration, we must not just lean on government, but also mobilize business. By harnessing the power of commerce towards achieving the goals, we will drive impact with brands, executives, corporations, employees, and ultimately consumers.

With this vision in mind, HealRWorld forged an alliance with the world’s largest activation agency and a leading global sustainable business convener of the planet’s most prominent brands to personalize the goals, drive awareness, catalyze engagement, and promote conscious capitalism in support of the SDGs.

SustainRWorld Day was launched September 8, 2016 at the United Nations by HealRWorld and our partners: Sustainable Brands, Geometry Global, and The PVBLIC Foundation.  SustainRWorld Day set out to rally the private sector in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, putting a line in the sand to measure and celebrate progress annually.

The vision launched with a full marketing campaign called “The Seventeen.”  Individual business leaders, influencers, academics and celebrities stepped up to be the public faces of each of the seventeen SDGs.  The campaign not only personalized each of the global goals, but put a public stake in the ground for businesses to rally for change.

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The Seventeen” campaign includes courageous and visionary leaders who are not afraid to leverage their personal brands to help humanity, such as actor Ted Danson for his work with Oceana, Jostein Solheim (CEO of Ben & Jerry’s), Naveen Jain (Founder and CEO of Moon Express), Eileen Fisher (Founder and CEO of Eileen Fisher), Jigar Shah (ex-CEO of the Carbon War Room and Co-Founder of Generate Capital), Paul Hawken (Environmentalist, Entrepreneur and Author) and Erika Karp, (CEO and Founder of Cornerstone Capital Group), as well as others.

The September 8 event launched with a number of speakers representing the United Nations’ Secretariat and agencies such as UNICEF, UNCTAD and the Global Compact, along with a number of private sector leaders and members of academia, including the Director of Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.  The excitement in the room was contagious and one fact became evident — that when you bring passionate leaders together around an important cause, you truly ignite change.  The event immediately created momentum for further action and collaboration.

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From this initial launch at the United Nations, HealRWorld has been inspired to form “The HealRWorld Foundation,” a non-profit that will be dedicated to furthering sustainability education, awareness and engagement globally and fundamentally igniting measurable actions through our work with the United Nations and other partners.

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It’s time that the Sustainable Development Goals become a household name, and our vision is that every business adopts the SDG framework in some manner within their overall strategy.

In 2017, “The Seventeen” campaign will go global, with each country being offered the opportunity to participate by customizing the campaign with their local philanthropists and business leaders to further inspire the movement.  From this spark we will create a global “SustainRWorld Day” event series to celebrate the collaborative successes each year. Won’t you join us?

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For more information on SustainRWorld Day, “The Seventeen” Campaign or how to get involved, please contact our office at (908) 450-7315 or email me directly at michele@healrworld.com. For more information on SustainRWorld Day, go to sustainrworldday.global.

Together we can be a force for change.

Michele A. Bongiovanni is CEO of HealRWorld LLC, a social impact firm whose big data platform aggregates sustainability information (People, Planet, Profit) on global large and small & mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) to power products, drive revenues & foster positive change. For more than 20 years Michele has served in strategy, marketing and product innovation in the financial services industry.