To meet the challenges of sustainable development in a globally coordinated manner, in 2015 the international community adopted “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
The Agenda includes economic, ecological and social aspects. The 17 global sustainability goals of the 2030 Agenda, the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are directed at everyone: governments worldwide, but also industry, civil society and scientific circles. Germany has committed itself to an ambitious implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
In January 2017, the Federal Cabinet adopted the “German Sustainable Development Strategy – 2016 Relaunch”, thereby amending the National Sustainability Strategy entitled “Prospects for Germany”, which had been adopted in 2002. The new Sustainable Development Strategy sets out Germany’s measures for implementing the 17 SDGs.
The following SDGs play a crucial role for the policies of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture:
- SDG 2 – end hunger, improve nutrition, sustainable agriculture
- SDG 6 – sustainable management of water
- SDG 12 – sustainable consumption and production patterns
- SDG 13 – climate action
- SDG 14 – sustainable use of the oceans
- SDG 15 – sustainable forest management, environmental protection and nature conservation
Agri-food companies are also responsible for sustainable development. The OECD guidelines on multinational enterprises also apply to them. The OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains offers them guidance in implementing this task.
The social dimension of sustainability also includes the respect for human rights. Since 2011, the OECD Guidelines have contained a new chapter on this issue. The guiding principles on human rights stated therein are in line with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which the United Nations adopted in the same year. The National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights of 2016 aims to advance the implementation of these Guiding Principles in Germany. In this Plan, the Federal Government formulates, among other things, the expectation that companies take the Guiding Principles into account and undertakes to support them in implementing the Principles.
Many companies are also assuming social responsibility for sustainable economic activity within the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).