On October 20th, the EnvironFocus team hosted our monthly webinar series on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The focus this month was on SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, with the webinar title “Providing Decent Work & Economic Growth using Sustainability Principles”.
SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
In order to address the need for decent work and sustainable economic growth, the United Nations General Assembly established the Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8): Decent Work & Economic Growth, which is intended to be achieved by 2030. The aim of SDG 8 is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The Goal consists of several targets which provide a framework for the necessary actions to enhance the opportunities for decent work and sustainable economic growth.
For more information on SDG 8 and its targets, click here.
Madhavi Venkatesan discussed certain targets under SDG 8, how they are measured and some gaps within the framework and the current way we look at decent work and economic growth. As Madhavi discussed in her presentation the current view we have on decent work and economic growth is flawed and needs to change.
Other key ideas she evoked are the need to reevaluate what we consider to be decent work, and to question the necessity of economic growth according to GDP. While people may make enough money to survive, are they thriving? How can we call something decent work if it only allows people to make enough money to have a roof over their head and food to eat, whereas they might not get any downtime or have enough money to spend on leisure or certain personal items they may want. According to Madhavi, the fact that we think an economy has to grow puts emphasis on quantitative attributes of decent work, over qualitative attributes.
What about the way we classify countries as developed and developing? “What are developing countries, developing to”? Madhavi argues that this classification only reinforces a system where the strongest benefit from the most vulnerable.
The fact that the targets under SDG 8 are inherently based on using GDP as a metric of wellbeing limits our ability to make actual changes to the system that we follow.
A memorable quote from Madhavi’s presentation: “Given that our economic system has no conscience based constraint but only a financial based constraint, relying on it to be the mechanism by which we achieve sustainability is not sufficient. You cannot incentivize a moral need with a financial system.”
Some other relevant quotes from Madhavi’s book “SDG 8: Sustainable Economic Growth and Decent Work for All” include:
- “…the metrics that guide the successful implementation of the goal are largely reliant on quantifiable measures that include GDP and employment. However, these attributes are challenged from the perspective that they are not inherently tied to sustainable outcomes in present practice.”
- “…decent work does include quantitative and qualitative attributes. Quantitative aspects can be easily recognizable, as they are adopted from a ‘mainstream’ approach to labor economics: per capita, per hour productivity and other standard metrics. On the other hand, qualitative aspects of the framework of decent work are more subtle and have less common agreement within the academic and policy-making community. Qualitative aspects have been explored with instruments available from other sciences such as psychology in an effort to discover how the role of emotional and qualitative attributes are helpful to identify a certain work as ‘decent’ or not.”
Genevieve Peters discussed “Economic Efficiency, Good Jobs and Environmental Sustainability”, with a focus on ECO Canada and Canada in general.
Genevieve discussed the programs under ECO Canada meant to enhance skill development & resource training, especially for Indigenous Peoples. She then discussed economic efficiency and some of today’s sustainable technological innovations such as tide turbines meant to generate electricity sustainably, carbon capture, and bioplastics.
Genevieve also discussed the current environmental employment in Canada and the future of green jobs. Currently 74,400 new jobs are expected to be created with additional job openings up to 98,300 due to retirement. Talking about the future of environmental employment she also discussed some critical job shortages expected, and highlighted the current in-demand environmental, technical and personal skills.
A memorable quote from Genevieve’s presentation: “Economic efficiency which is really about scarce resources to help satisfy changing wants and needs is not inconsistent with environmental sustainability overall. Making optimal use of scarce resources requires ingenuity and innovation, as well as risk taking. We need to take a look at the opportunities that are available to us to change the way we’re doing things. Maintaining the status quo clearly isn’t working for us.”
We want to say a big thank you to our speakers for sharing their time and knowledge with us.
We also want to thank all of our attendees. We hope you found the webinar insightful and inspiring.
To access the full video, visit our webinar recordings page on our website.
Upcoming SDG Webinars
Missed out on this webinar? Don’t worry we host these sustainability webinars focused on SDGs on the third Thursday of every month. Currently we have 3 upcoming SDG webinars:
On Thursday 17th November 2022, we will be looking at SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities,
On Thursday 19th January 2023, we will be looking at SDG 2: Zero Hunger.
On Thursday 16th February 2023, we will be looking at SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being.
To stay updated on this and other events and articles, follow our social media pages and subscribe to our newsletter.
Upcoming ESG Webinars
Next week we are debuting our Lunch & Learn Series: Demystifying ESG and Sustainability. These webinars are for anyone involved in the respective industries as well as people who know nothing and would like to learn more. These webinars are completely free and you can register using the links below.
On Tuesday 25th October 2022, we will be looking at the Construction Industry. Register here.
On Wednesday 26th October 2022, we will be looking at the Food & Beverage Industry. Register here.
Are you interested in being a speaker or sponsoring these webinars? Please reach out to us!
We welcome all promotional or financial partnerships, and welcome speakers or organizations that want to showcase their sustainability knowledge.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rethinking Agriculture: Regenerative Agriculture - December 2, 2022
- Sustainable Transportation – The Way To Go! - November 25, 2022
- Webinar Recap: “Reducing Inequalities Globally: Today’s Growing Feelings of Divide” - November 18, 2022