Finland: Searching for the link between D&I management and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are the world’s to-do list for the following thirteen years. The 17 goals and 169 sub-goals cover a wide scale of the world’s most wicked challenges – or greatest opportunities – varying from preventing climate change to evaporating poverty and improving women’s rights.

Diversity and inclusion management has also been mentioned in the goals, for a reason, as diverse and inclusively managed organizations have been proven to be innovative, profitable and sustainable in the long run.

 

Diversity and inclusion management is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals directly through three goals:

  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

These three goals include several sub-goals that match directly to the everyday D&I work carried out in different organisations. Welcoming everyone – despite, for instance, their gender, ethnicity, age, education, residence, sexual preference, physical or psychological attributes or know-how – to the society as valued employees and respected customers is in the centre of both D&I management and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

In Finland, diversity and inclusion management is addressed primarily in the national context, but deep down it is a human rights issue, touching every one of the world’s nearly eight billion people despite their home countries.

 

Billions of people work along the value chains of multinational companies or are somehow affected by them, for instance as suppliers or consumers. Even a small or medium-sized company can affect thousands of employees and customers around the globe. What if everyone along the supply chain worked in an organisation where he or she is respected, where everyone’s skills are developed in an encouraging way and where everyone’s special needs are taken into consideration as employees and customers?

 

All kinds of organisations – small, big, Finnish, foreign – have remarkable leverage to change the working culture, not only in their own offices, but also globally along their value chains. Therefore, companies can have a great impact in ensuring that the future we build will be socially and ecologically sustainable.

 

Diversity and inclusion management comes with a strong business case: for instance, McKinsey research shows that companies with diverse boards are more profitable than their competitors. Furthermore, a Forbes study found that diversity and inclusive management encourage innovation and scale up business. There is a lot of similar research, and the conclusions seem to highlight the positive impact of diversity and inclusion management on the company’s economic performance.

 

What if the increased innovativeness, better profit and happier staff could be achieved in a company’s own offices, but also throughout their value chain? What if we could offer different people tailored products and services more efficiently than now? How much more innovative and profitable business would we then be carrying out?

 

Riikka Leppänen

Corporate responsibility coordinator

FIBS / Finnish Diversity Charter

 

Finnish Diversity Charter

 

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