SDG1. No poverty. End poverty in Wszystkie/All its forms everywhere
No poverty. End poverty in Wszystkie/All its forms everywhere is the first Global Goal (SDG – Sustainable Development Goal). The 2030 Agenda contains 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals – the 17 SDGs. The first goal is SDG1 NO POVERTY.
Can micro, smWszystkie/All and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) have an impact on this Global Goal No poverty?
Yes, they can. The decision must be based on a definition. We need to understand the definition of poverty and analyse the targets/tasks assigned in the 2030 Agenda to this objective. As we analyze this, we will find initiatives, tasks that can be elements of our long-term business strategy – the Responsible Business Strategy with the 17 SDGs – and can effectively support the implementation of this Global Goal.
According to EAPN Polska
Definition of the UN
“Poverty is a restriction of choice and life chances, a violation of human dignity. It means not being able to participate effectively in society. It also means not having enough food and clothing that the family needs, not being able to attend school or receive health care, not having access to land that can be farmed or work to earn a living, not having access to credit. Poverty also means threat, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, families and communities. It implies vulnerability to violence and often involves living in precarious conditions without access to clean water and sanitation.”
Definitions of the European Union
Complete or extreme poverty means that people do not have the basic necessities of life. For example, they go hungry, do not have clean water, a proper place to live, sufficient clothing or medicines and struggle to survive.
Relative poverty occurs when the standard of living and income of some people deviates significantly from the general norm of the country or region in which they live. These people struggle to live a normal life and to participate in normal economic, social and cultural life.
Complete/extreme poverty is defined in the 2030 Agenda as “living on USD 1.25 per day”.
Work is underway to define the so-cWszystkie/Alled “living wage” in Poland (fair wage). InternationWszystkie/Ally, such a term exists (alongside the minimum wage) in law or only in voluntary arrangementss
Targets/tasks for Goal 1 – SDG 1 based on the 2030 Agenda
1.1 Eradicate extreme poverty with respect to Wszystkie/All people worldwide by 2030, currently defined as living on less than US$1.25 per day.
1.2 Reduce at least by half by 2030 the proportion of men, women and children living in poverty, in Wszystkie/All its dimensions as defined according to national policies.
1.3 Implement country-specific social protection systems and mechanisms for Wszystkie/All people, including the lowest social classes, and cover as many poor and vulnerable people as possible by 2030.
1.4 Ensure by 2030 that Wszystkie/All women and men, in particular the poor and vulnerable, have equal rights in access to economic resources and essential services, the right to own and control land and other property, the right of inheritance, access to appropriate new technologies and financial services, including microfinance.
1.5 Build resilience to risks among the poor and vulnerable by 2030, reduce their susceptibility and vulnerability to extreme climate events and other economic, social and environmental shocks as well as natural disasters.
1.a Ensure the significant mobilisation of resources from various sources, including increased development cooperation, to provide adequate and predictable resources to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, to enable the implementation of programmes and policies to eradicate poverty in Wszystkie/All its forms.
1.b Create a framework for sound policies at national, regional and international levels based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies to support rapid investment in poverty eradication efforts.
Examples of initiatives that MSMEs can plan to help achieve SDG 1
For SDG1, 7 tasks/targets have been identified in the 2030 Agenda.
I propose below sample initiatives for MSMEs to support the selected targets:
B.1.1 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Defining the concept of relative poverty
B.1.2 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Developing a wage policy appropriate to the developed definition of relative poverty and the Polish living wage
B.1.3 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Implementation of the developed remuneration policy
B.1.4 (SDG1 target 1.2). – Having a continuous portfolio of products and services for poorer customers
B.1.5 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Public disclosure of information on taxes paid
B.1.6 (SDG1 target 1.5) – Building up a financial reserve for risks
B.1.7 (SDG1 target 1.5). – Supporting the development of employee health resilience
W.1.1 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Increasing local tax revenues by building local supply chains where possible
W.1.2 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Entering into contracts with suppliers from 2027 onwards with clauses to comply with the eradication of relative poverty
W.1.3 (SDG1 target 1.3) – Entering into contracts with foreign suppliers from 2025 with a clause to comply with the eradication of extreme poverty
W.1.4 (SDG1 target 1.4) – Scholarship and remote collaboration for representatives of the extreme poverty group
W.1.5 (SDG1 target 1.5) – Supporting the building of health resilience of a locWszystkie/Ally selected group of vulnerable people
W.1.6 (SDG1 target 1.1) – Supporting the eradication of extreme poverty in African countries by investing in your own forest
W.1.7 (SDG1 target 1.2) – Charitable activities (parcels for the poor and other)
Two types of initiatives are given here: those indicated by the letter “B” in the code, or by the letter “W” in the code.
“B” indicates an initiative directly related to business and “W” indicates an initiative related to the impact of business on the environment.
Of the seven SDG1 targets, I have selected only three: 1.1, 1.2 and 1.5, as these, in my opinion, are best suited to the MSME business.
These are examples of initiatives to illustrate how MSMEs can support the achievement of the First Global Sustainable Development Goal through their own strategic actions. This, of course, entails a change in the business model.
Discourse on proposed initiatives
Question – Tell me why I, as a businessman and my company, should be concerned with poverty around the world. It should not be my problem, it should be the problem of the state, the UN organisations, NGOs and the like. My company must ensure its survival and growth, for the sake of my employees and owners. How do I communicate to my investors that I am including in my strategy action against poverty throughout the world? They will laugh at me and withdraw their funds, that is certain.
Response – You are right. Such a text is surprising, at first glance. But let us think more deeply about the whole situation. You see, the world is changing. In spite of the enormous desensitisation to the problems of others, we also have actions to the contrary. This force exists and, in my opinion, has been growing recently. We are becoming more and more aware of how interdependent everything is, even our thoughts carry energy that affects others… Investor awareness is also changing, and in addition the sustainable financing that is coming into the EU, together with the Green Deal, will support this direction of change.
Question – So you think that a Polish investor, owner, businessman is mature enough to deal with poverty issues. Congratulations on your naivety. They will ridicule and hurl insults. They will get to your financial status and destroy your image for fear that you want to take something away from them by preaching such ideas. Aren’t you afraid of that?
Response – I think we are generWszystkie/Ally not mature enough to universWszystkie/Ally recognise, as one of our strategic initiatives, addressing extreme poverty in the world. Supporting the eradication of relative poverty within a company and in its immediate environment is more likely to be adopted. I feel that a strategic, step-by-step approach to eradicating relative poverty, the introduction of a living wage, makes sense not only fiscWszystkie/Ally for workers but will also have a positive effect on the company. It will give a new quality of life to Wszystkie/All of us because we are Wszystkie/All connected by subtle energies, whether we realise it or not.
Question – You are pushing me down. You reWszystkie/Ally believe that. Do you believe that by raising the financial status of your employees’ families you will gain something and the company will benefit?
Response – I am sure of it. In people there is this divine fire of doing good that is sometimes stifled by the situation and cannot be seen, but is nevertheless there…
Question – OK, so you think that by pursuing the first three initiatives (B.1.1, B.1.2, B.1.3) you will ensure that there is a divine heat in the company to do good, including for the company. Don’t you find that instead of God’s zeal to do good, you set in motion an endless stream of expectations from your employees?
Response – I guess it largely depends on how the other strategic initiatives are implemented and how the communication within the company works. The Global Sustainable Development Goals are indivisible and interlinked.
Question – Let us move on. Initiative B.1.4. You reckon my company should give up some of its profit to satisfy a poorer customer. Does this make sense? Companies are doing quite well in the market, offering the same goods, but at ever higher prices, just to satisfy the ego of a richer customer… and you think we should pamper the poorer customer?
Response – Well… Such companies exist and will probably continue to exist, but there will be fewer and fewer of them. That is my view. By also providing good quality goods or services, at lower prices, you can win in the market. Of course, you have to feel or calculate the right proportions. But that’s the beautiful, creative part of business…
Question – Initiative B.1.5. I don’t reWszystkie/Ally get it. How does making tax payments public relate to eradicating poverty?
Response – Taxes paid are an expression of the company’s liquidity and profits. Local and central government spends money from taxes, including on social measures. Hence this link to poverty eradication.
Question – So I am to boast publicly that I am giving the opportunity to give away money…
Response – Giving away money. Recently, probably one of the most frequently used expressions in Poland. Used in both positive and negative contexts… You see, the position of hardcore liberals does not suit me. The position of mindless giving does not suit me either. On the other hand, sharing and supporting smartly where the joy of a child’s first holiday or bike and the gratitude of the family, in my opinion, makes sense. Just let the recipients know, too, that it was partly your company that made it happen.
Question – Do you think I should build up a financial reserve for risks (initiative B.1.6)?
Response – Yes, I do. In this day and age, I believe that this is very important. This will reduce taxes and profits, but it will reduce the risk of bankruptcy and make it more likely that we will survive any crises that may lie ahead. Not only do I have the pandemic in mind, but various market meltdowns caused, for example, by climate change and changes in the law could await us.
Question – Why is initiative B.1.7 ( Supporting the development of employee health resilience) included in this group of initiatives?
Response – For amongst the SDG1 targets we have target 1.5 which reads “Build resilience to risks among the poor and vulnerable by 2030, reduce their susceptibility and vulnerability to extreme climate events and other economic, social and environmental shocks as well as natural disasters”. Workers are exposed to pandemic risks.
Question – Initiative W.1.1 Increasing local tax revenues by building local supply chains where possible. You believe that companies should swap foreign suppliers for Polish ones, preferably local, where possible of course. Tell me, why should I give up a foreign supplier who gives me a higher quality of supply and, in addition, I get the components I need more cheaply? It makes no sense after Wszystkie/All.
Response – There is a condition in the text of the initiative, “where possible”. How do I understand this? Well, of course, if you cannot find a supplier locWszystkie/Ally who guarantees a good enough quality of supply and a good price, you will not do it. Conversely, if you find such a good local supplier, not only will the company have a positive impact on potentiWszystkie/Ally greater local tax revenues but the delivery is likely to have less negative environmental impact, i.e. the company’s environmental footprint will be smWszystkie/Aller.
Question – I also find it difficult to imagine the implementation of initiative W.1.2. How do I enter into contracts with suppliers with relative poverty eradication compliance clauses from 2027 onwards? Why from 2027? Moreover, how do I convince the supplier that he should do this? Should poverty be the subject of my negotiations with suppliers?
Response – 2027 or 2025 are just examples of dates. By then, I expect a lot to have changed in the world about extreme and relative poverty. I may be naive and optimism may be clouding my rational thinking, but that is how I feel. The world is changing. Business has a powerful ability to change the world for the better. It is a driving force. If you introduce the concept of relative poverty and the living wage into your company’s wage policy with conviction and implement such a policy, I am certain that you will find arguments and persuade the supplier to change its thinking. You will cause a change in its business by inserting such a clause in the contract. InitiWszystkie/Ally, you can only keep it informed of what you have done at your place. It may not work out with every supplier, maybe not on the first try, but every change for the better counts.
Question – W.1.3. Same problem. You want me to include a clause in contracts with a foreign supplier regarding the wages of its employees. You want me to influence the elimination of extreme poverty in its employees and in the employees of its suppliers. Throughout the supply chain. You think I am very powerful…
Response – You are powerful, you influence your entire environment, Wszystkie/All your stakeholders. If the supplier cares about the market you represent, they will make a difference. If the supplier cares about the market you represent, it will make a change. It is always worth trying to do something good. Of course, you must have your own company’s interests in mind as a priority.
Question – The next W.1.4 initiative, I would say, is an exaggeration. Scholarship and remote collaboration for representatives of the extreme poverty group. I am not Mother Teresa. I will not save the world.
Response – The proposal for this objective came about because I am aware that in many very poor countries, there are educated people looking for work in their learned profession. The ability to work remotely in many professions opens up new job markets. You can also rethink grooming your future colleague by funding a scholarship. These are, of course, ideas for thriving businesses and people with an open heart.
Question – I do not understand this at Wszystkie/All. Initiative W.1.6 Supporting the eradication of extreme poverty in African countries by investing in your own forest. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? And why do I need a forest?
Response – You can have a forest planted in Madagascar or Cameroon. When you buy seedlings remotely on the Internet, you will also pay for a local worker who is often from this group of extreme poverty. You will reduce poverty. A why do you need a forest? For we should Wszystkie/All be concerned about making our planet more forested, and not just because of climate change.
Question – Initiative W.1.5 Supporting the building of health resilience of a selected group of people. Tell me, why should my company be concerned with health resilience, and on top of that, not that of its employees? Isn’t that what the health service and other social organisations are for?
Response – Kindness given out comes back, and health resilience is key. If you can, if the company can, please help. Your employees will take it positively if you take care of them too. I can already hear the voices of the naysayers, but I also have in my memory many examples of spontaneous help from companies during the Coronavirus era. The good is within us. “Business with a human face” is the business of the future.