PYMES and SDGs: The Path of Sustainable Development

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What are SDGs?

The SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals – these are the core guidelines to achieve a sustainable development that leads towards ‘peace and prosperity for people and the planet’. These core goals, manifested in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, are supported by all United Nations Member States, as declared in 2015. The SDGs consist of 17 goals whose achievement is inseparably linked with each other. Their indications are based on the equality of all people and the continuous well-being of all life, an indispensable basis of which is the stability and health of the earth’s ecosystem.

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The UN provides an extensive explanation of the SDGs, individually and also as a whole. Details about their origin, their sense and their progress can be found on the Sustainable Development Goal Knowledge Platform.



From the conviction that implementing strategies and actions to achieve the SDGs can not exclusively be up to countries and governments originated the PYMES Y ODS project. PYMES is the spanish acronym for small and medium-sized businesses and ODS is the spanish version of the abbreviation SDG. The idea behind it is to enable said businesses to align their company activities with the SDGs in order to contribute to their achievement. This contribution can happen directly through projects and initiatives supporting one or several SDGs. Apart from that, however, it is also important to incorporate the SDGs in all strategies and processes to make them an integral part of the organization.


The project is lead by COPADE. – find out more about who COPADE is below. The PYMES Y ODS project supports businesses in doing that by first analyzing their activities from a SDG viewpoint in order to then show potential for the alignment to the SDGs through a SWOT analysis. For this to happen, participating companies provide extensive information concerning their business activities. This information, in combination with what COPADE finds on corporate websites and blogs, is the basis of the analysis. Through this and the SWOT analysis, COPADE creates a suggested Action Plan for companies. Finally, it invites businesses to give suggestions and feedback to help COPADE optimizing their analysis.



The project is lead by COPADE – Comercio para el Desarrollo, which can be translated as trade for development. The organization works towards a fair, responsible and equitable trade. This means enabling market access for producers from developing countries and Spain, establishing a trade market comprised of just and ethical relations that are environmental-friendly. As an NGO dedicated to just trade relations, COPADE forms alliances to ensure that all parties engaged, especially developing parties that are in a position of disadvantage, participate as equal partners and that the alliance brings positive outcomes for everyone involved.

La Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo – a long name for a great cause. AECID is committed to the fight against poverty and for a sustainable human development. This also involves the alignment with the Agenda 2030 and therefore the SDGs. That is why AECID co-financed the PYMES Y ODS project.


Social Forest and the SDGs

The analysis COPADE undertook for Social Forest was focused on 9 of the 17 SDGs, due to the extreme complexity of analysing 17 goals in detail. The chosen SDGs represent the most relevant ones for the company’s context in particular. The selection was composed of the following goals:

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For eight of the nine goals, COPADE found that Social Forest already contributes to their achievement, with an especially significant contribution in Good Health and Well-Being, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action and Life on Land. Only in one of the examined areas, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Social Forest only has very little impact.

Let’s have a closer look at the three SDGs that are most relevant in the work of Social Forest and which we have the biggest impact on: #10 – Reduced Inequalities, #13 – Climate Action and #15 – Life on Land.


#10 – Reduced Inequalities: ”Reduce inequality within and among countries”

This goal’s target is to achieve a higher than average income growth rate for the bottom 40 percent of the population. This means supporting income opportunities and salaries for the economically weaker part of the population as well as ensuring their social, economic and political inclusion. As an example, Social Forest is contributing to that through offering employment for young people at risk of social exclusion and training for refugees without documentation.

#13 – Climate Action: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”

This goal includes increasing the resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, as well as improving education, awareness and capacity on climate change mitigation. Social Forest contributes to that through our environment-related educational work with people of all ages on the one hand, and the sustainable forestry that, among other things, reduces the risk of forest fires and therefore of the emission of the CO2 fixated in trees, manages water flows, increases biodiversity and provides biomass for renewable energies on the other hand.

#15 – Life on Land: “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”

Last but not least, this goal, as the UN’s description sums up nicely, aims at the maintenance of ecosystems, forests in particular, and the protection of biodiversity and threatened species. With our approach of a sustainable forestry, Social Forest does exactly that. With the support of organizations and companies that want to contribute to the protection, restoration and promotion of life on land, Social Forest manages forests in a sustainable way that preserves natural habitats through many different projects.

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We are delighted about the results of this analysis. There is always more we can do and we will keep exploring the potential COPADE pointed out to us through their report. However, this encourages us in our work, showing us that we are on a good path. If you want to know more about the work of Social Forest and how we can work together for a sustainable development, do not hesitate to contact us!

Images: UN, COPADE, SocialForest

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