What are the SDGS?

What are the SDGS?

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals — also known as Global Goals or the SDGs, and formally named Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — is an inter-governmental agreement of the United Nations and 193 countries.  The Global Goals provide a framework to be implemented by “all countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership” around a set of 17 specific, aspirational goals that address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

With 169 targets to be met by the year 2030, and over 232 indicators for measuring progress, the Global Goals were designed to stimulate positive outcomes for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships. The very themes covered by Global Goals (which include poverty, hunger, health and well-being, education, equality, sanitation, decent work, and production) also reflect current challenges and risks facing the apparel and textile value chain. 

How can the Textile Industry advance the SDGs?

KPMG and Textile Exchange have partnered on a new report entitled Threading the Needle: Weaving the SDGs into the textile, retail and apparel industry.   A culmination of industry interviews, NGO inputs, and desk research, the report highlights shared value examples for companies in the sector grappling with how to integrate the SDGs into their core business and global supply chain. 

What are the 17 Global Goals?

Select a specific Global Goal below to learn more about that goal, its respective targets, its progress, and analysis of the opportunities for the Textile Industry to advance that goal through existing industry and global initiatives along with links to resources, reports and statistics. The Global Goals should be considered one integrated system and many of the goals and their associated targets refer to other goal targets.  While the below table organizes resources by single SDG, it is important to evaluate the linkages and tradeoffs among all the goals.  

How much progress has been made on the SDGs so far?

A report is issued annually by the Secretary General during the UN’s High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the platform that reviews progress on Global Goals by Member States and the UN’s specialized agencies. While the latest progress report notes that there has been some progress towards achieving the Global Goals, the current pace of progress will not meet the 2030 deadline.  A summary of the progress by Global Goal is available by clicking that goal’s icon.



Our SDG Timeline

What is the role of business?

The Global Goals contemplate a role for the public sector, civil society and the private sector to address persistent global issues.The themes covered by Global Goals—poverty, hunger, health and wellbeing, education, equality, sanitation, decent work to name a few—all reflect issues that not only impact quality of life, security and fundamental human rights across the globe, but also directly impact the apparel and textile value network. In many cases, businesses have larger global footprints and resources than the GDPs of many countries and can play an important role in addressing these urgent global problems.  The Global Goals are consequently and increasingly being incorporated into risk and materiality assessments by both businesses and investors.


According to the 2017’s Better Business, Better World report, from the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, “The goals provide the private sector with a new growth strategy that opens valuable market opportunities while creating a world that is both sustainable and inclusive.” The report evaluates 60 “hotspots” in four economic areas (food and agriculture; cities; energy and materials; and health and well-being) that could create at least US $12 trillion (or more than 10% of current GDP) in new market opportunities. While the report does not address apparel and textiles, it does cover agriculture and related cross-cutting issues and offers lessons for all industries.

Representing approximately $2.5 to $3 trillion, the apparel industry has the scale, reach and technical expertise to deliver on target SDGs within the global value chain.  With a history of contributions to sustainable development, the industry is in a position to use the Global Goals framework not just as a risk management tool but also has a comprehensive framework for business development and innovation.