The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are broken down into 169 targets and 231 unique indicators.

Although framed for governmental responses, many of these targets and indicators are readily applicable to companies – particularly those seeking to address (as many are) the SDGs as part of their wider ESG programme.

In this series of Briefing Notes, I will draw on examples to illustrate how SDG targets and indicators are being addressed.

The World faces a huge challenge as its population heads from seven to nine billion: providing enough food for everyone to eat. As a global population, we need to grow as much food in the next 30 years as we have grown in the entire history of human agrarian settlement.

SDG 2 Zero Hunger aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Two of SDG 2’s seven Targets are:

  • Target 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
  • Target 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

There are a number of ‘solutions’ in process to meet this projected need: opening up new lands to agricultural production (a sometimes controversial activity), reclaiming industrial sites or cityscapes for agriculture (often small scale), so-called ‘smart farming’ (using technology to enhance yields whilst being ‘greener’) and vertical farming.

One such vertical farming company is SmartKas which is addressing SDG 2 in innovative ways.

The mission of SmartKas is to create a fully sustainable, clean and green agricultural process relying on renewable sources for energy and water, while producing food without pesticides in a smart and efficient way. The cornerstone of SMARTKAS’s mission is their philosophy that access to food and water should be a basic human right.

Through the innovative manner in which SmartKas combines the latest technological advances it creates non-volatile and non-seasonal growth cycles ensuring food security that leads to yields almost 25 times the global average per area.

SMARTKAS is an Agri-Tech enterprise fusing solutions found in hydroponic greenhouses with high precision farming tech. SMARTKAS is driven by AI, Drones & Robotics, as well as a cutting edge Cloud-Computing Software.

It is important to remember that not all SDGs and certainly not all targets and indicators are relevant to every company.

Companies are, in fact, pretty much free to choose which of the SDGs, targets and indicators are most relevant to their activities – the important thing is to be clear about this.

There is, however, one caveat, to wit, the SDGs, their targets and indicators cannot be offset: companies cannot offset one SDG against another. Honesty and integrity is, after all, a key element of the G in ESG.

This article has been written by Professor Kevin Haines

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