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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Sustainable Development Goals also known as SDGs are commonly used by companies to align thier sustainability objectives by selecting one or more goal. We'll explore what are the 17 SDGs and how can individuals like you and I help achieve them too!

In 2015, the world's leaders came together and agreed on a set of goals to achieve by 2030. These are known as the SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals. They include things like ending poverty, ensuring quality education for all, and combating climate change. Each of us can help achieve these goals by making small changes in our own lives. Read on to learn more about the SDGs and how you can get involved!


Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG1) is all about ending poverty in all its forms. This ambitious goal has been adopted by the United Nations and aims to end extreme poverty everywhere, ensuring that people have access to basic needs such as food, shelter and healthcare. In order to achieve this goal, there are a number of actions which individuals can take.

Individuals can play a huge role in helping to end poverty. One way to do this is by making donations, either monetarily or with goods and services. Money donated to poverty reduction efforts can be used for providing basic necessities such as food and shelter, medical care, educational opportunities, job training and microcredit loans. Goods and services donated to poverty reduction efforts can be used to help build and sustain infrastructure, such as schools and clinics.

Volunteering is another way for individuals to help end poverty in the world. By donating time, individuals can make a positive contribution to poverty reduction efforts by providing educational opportunities or helping with fundraising activities. Volunteers can also mentor children from poverty-stricken areas, providing them with the resources and guidance they may not otherwise have access to.

TOMbag tip: learn about minimalism - declutter your space and donate what you don’t need to local charities or through Facebook Marketplace.


The UN SDG 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. This goal focuses on providing access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round for everyone around the world. SDG 2 seeks to ensure that all people have enough healthy and diverse diets to lead productive lives, free from malnutrition and hunger. According to the UN estimates, in 2020 hunger became an issue for 720-811 million people worldwide. In the same year, over 30 percent of the world’s population were either moderately or severely food-insecure, having no regular access to adequate food.

SDG 2 also calls for strengthening the capacity of all countries to enable sustainable agricultural practices, as well as regulating international food trade in order to reduce food losses and waste. SDG 2 is a critical item on the agenda for achieving global peace and stability. By ending hunger, SDG 2 creates an enabling environment for improved education, health and economic welfare. SDG 2 is an ambitious yet achievable goal with the commitment of all stakeholders in government, private sector, civil society, academia and communities.

Ending hunger is a complex problem, but there are actions individuals can take to help make a difference. One important way to contribute to solving hunger is to grow your own food whenever possible. Growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens or even window boxes can reduce dependence on the industrialised food system, while simultaneously providing nutritious food for your family. It also conserves resources and decreases the demand on local farmers.

Another way individuals can help reduce hunger is to support local and sustainable farming practices. Buying from farm-to-table grocers or directly from local farmers helps provide a livelihood for small producers and ensures food is produced in a way that protects the environment.

Finally, hunger can be minimised through reducing food waste. It’s estimated that 1/3 of all food produced around the world is wasted or lost. Reducing food waste by storing and cooking food properly, reusing leftovers, composting, and donating surplus to hunger relief organisations can go a long way in reducing hunger.

TOMbag tip: Buy local and “ugly” fruits and veggies. By “saving” an imperfect local produce you do your part in reducing food waste and supporting local farmers.


The UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 is focused on ensuring that all people have access to good health and wellbeing. SDG 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. It also strives to reduce preventable deaths through the reduction of the leading causes of mortality, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and communicable diseases. SDG 3 also promotes access to sexual and reproductive health services for all. Additionally, SDG 3 strives to reduce non-communicable diseases through the adoption of healthy lifestyles, including physical activity and healthy eating.

Good health and wellbeing is essential for leading a happy, fulfilling life. Individuals can take several steps to help them achieve and maintain good health.

Firstly, individuals should get themselves and their families vaccinated against common diseases such as influenza, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect yourself and your family from illnesses, while also reducing the spread of disease in the wider community.

Additionally, individuals should prioritise their physical and mental health. Health is about more than just exercise; people should make sure to get enough rest and take regular breaks. Balanced diet is extremely important in achieving good health and wellbeing - at nearly 3 million adults are dying each year as a result of being either overweight or obese. Mental health is just as important, so individuals should make sure to practise healthy habits such as mindfulness, relaxation, and self-care.

Regular exercise can also help to maintain good health by promoting physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost energy levels. Individuals can pick activities that they enjoy to make exercise more enjoyable.

TOMbag tip: Buying unprocessed local (and ideally “naked”) food and cooking from scratch can help you achieve a balanced diet which is paramount to good physical and mental health.


Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 is all about providing quality education to everyone. SDG 4 seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. According to the report from 2018, 258 million children and youth remain out of school, 773 million adults are illiterate and more than half of children in low-income countries do not meet the minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.

So how can each of us help in achieving SDG 4? Firstly, individuals can donate to educational charities which are working towards SDG 4. Secondly, we can spread awareness by engaging in conversations with people around us and sharing SDG 4 related content. Thirdly, we can volunteer with local organisations that are providing quality education to children and youth. Lastly, we can also choose to buy products from companies that are investing in SDG 4 related initiatives.

It is important for us to take SDG 4 seriously, so that we can make sure every child around the world has access to quality education. SDG 4 is achievable and it is up to us to ensure that this goal is met by 2030. We can each play our part in helping SDG 4 become a reality.

TOMbag tip: Contribute to charities promoting quality education for girls in low-income countries.


Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This goal focuses on ensuring that everyone has the same rights, regardless of gender. It is about creating a world where women and girls have equal access to education, healthcare, economic resources, employment opportunities, and are free from all forms of violence.

Sustainable Development Goals
Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men

Gender inequality is present in various areas of life - gender gap is well seen in terms of wages where, according to the UN, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. In terms of education, there are still gender disparities in primary and secondary enrolment rates globally, with girls making up a smaller proportion of students than boys.

Fortunately, there are several steps that each one of us can take to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5. First and foremost, we can promote gender equality in our own families and communities by challenging gender stereotypes and encouraging girls to pursue their goals. We can also become aware of the gender wage gap and make sure that women are paid equally to their male counterparts in our own workplaces. Finally, we can support initiatives and organisations that are working to promote gender equality in the world.

By taking these steps, we can help create a world where everyone is treated equally, regardless of gender. Sustainable Development Goal 5 will be achieved when every woman and girl in the world can enjoy the same opportunities, rights and freedoms as everyone else.

TOMbag tip: Educate your little ones on the topic of gender equalities from a young age. There are many wonderful books on the topic that your kids will enjoy reading.


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 is dedicated to ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere. The SDG 6 aims to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030, as well as access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all. SDG 6 also strives to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers and groundwater. SDG 6 calls for the implementation of integrated water resources management at all levels, including international level, in order to reduce pollution and provide services for sustainable development.

This SDG also includes tackling the impacts of water-related disasters, and support for countries facing severe water shortages. SDG 6 is an integral part of meeting the SDGs, as access to clean water and sanitation is essential for healthy lives, economic growth and sustainable development. SDG 6 will help ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene.

Water scarcity is a growing concern worldwide, and wasting water is a major factor contributing to the problem. Individuals have the power to help make a difference and preserve the world’s clean water. Here are a few simple tips to help prevent wasting water:

  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving and washing hands.

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.

  • Take shorter showers or use a low flow shower head to reduce water usage.

  • Use a bowl in the sink instead of running the tap to wash fruits and vegetables.

  • Check for leaks in all faucets, toilets and pipes, and repair them immediately.

  • Reuse water whenever possible, such as in the garden.

  • Make sure to only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.

  • Install water conserving fixtures such as dual flush toilets or aerators on faucets.

By taking simple steps to reduce wasting water, individuals can make a big difference to conserve this precious natural resource. UNICEF reports that 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity for the duration of at least one month each year. To put this into perspective, wasting only one litre of water means wasting a lot more than just one litre in the grand scheme of things. We owe it to ourselves, and future generations, to make sure we’re doing our part to conserve clean water.

TOMbag tip: The largest use of household water is to flush the toilet. Invest in rainwater harvesting system that will capture and store the water that you can use for flushing your toilet.


Sustainable Development Goal number 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) is a global goal for achieving universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. Sustainable access to energy is essential for ending poverty, boosting shared prosperity and protecting the environment. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 770 million people still lack access to electricity, and many others use energy sources that are inefficient, expensive, or harmful to the environment. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, nearly 600 million people don't have electricity.

The Sustainable Development Goal number 7 (SDG 7) calls for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services by 2030. This means increasing substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7, we need to make fundamental changes to the way our energy is generated and used. Some steps that individuals can take to help achieve this Sustainable Development Goal include using more efficient appliances, using public transportation, conserving energy by turning off lights, and investing in renewable energy sources like solar or wind. In addition, individuals can support organisations that focus on research and development of clean energy technologies such as Sustainable Energy for All or Global Clean Energy Council.

TOMbag tip: If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to switch to one of Australia’s green renewable energy providers.


Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth that leads to decent work for all. SDG 8 strives to achieve full and productive employment, including equal pay for work of equal value. This SDG also works towards the social protection floor for all, improved job security and access to social protection systems.

The International Labour Organization estimates that in 2022 the total global number of unemployed youths will reach 73 million. As per the ILO report, the Arab States have the highest unemployment rate of young people globally, projected at nearly 25 per cent in 2022.

When it comes to SDG 8, each of us can take part to help promote economic growth and decent working conditions. One of the most effective ways is to support local businesses and industries in your area. This helps to create new jobs for local communities, which leads to stronger and more resilient local economies. Another way we can contribute is to advocate for worker-friendly policies in the workplace, such as fair wages and safe working conditions.

We can also support initiatives that focus on providing training and education opportunities to those looking for employment, thereby giving them the skills they need to find decent work.

SDG 8 is an ambitious goal that requires the commitment of individuals, businesses, and governments alike in order for it to be achieved. But with everyone’s effort, SDG 8 can be realised and the world can have a brighter future.

TOMbag tip: Support the local economy by buying local!


The SDG number 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, is one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations to guide global development and improve the lives of people around the world. SDG 9 focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable while also creating an investment-friendly environment with the help of infrastructure and industry. SDG 9 also aims to advance science, technology and innovation for society’s benefit.

To achieve SDG 9, there are several steps individuals can take. One way is to support SDG advocacy campaigns and promote awareness of SDG 9 within your community. You can also invest in SDG-related projects and encourage businesses to increase their investments in SDG 9-related initiatives. Finally, you can join SDG-focused groups and organisations to help raise awareness and support SDG 9-related activities.

Overall, SDG 9 is an incredibly important goal if the world is to achieve SDGs by 2030. It requires a global effort from all of us as individuals and businesses alike, to make sure SDG 9 is achieved and that our cities are safe, sustainable and have the infrastructure they need.


Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 10 focuses on reducing inequalities within and among countries. SDGs are a set of 17 global goals created by the United Nations General Assembly to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. SDG 10, in particular, is centred around narrowing socioeconomic gaps between populations, promoting equal access to resources and opportunities, and ensuring everyone has the capacity to benefit from economic growth.

The SDG 10 aims to reduce inequalities in income, ensure access to basic services and education for all, provide equal opportunities for employment regardless of gender or socio-economic background, and reduce discrimination of all forms. SDG 10 is an ambitious goal, as it seeks to rectify the vast discrepancies in access to resources between different countries, regions and populations.

Statistics on SDG 10 are sobering: according to some estimates 1 in 10 people across the globe live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 per day, and many in developing countries lack access to basic services such as education and healthcare. Inequalities are also present within countries, with marginalised populations often deprived of basic rights.

Fortunately, each one of us can contribute to SDG 10's aim for greater equality. We can start by educating ourselves about SDGs and other issues related to the SDG 10, such as income disparities and access to services. We can then support the SDGs through donations, volunteering or advocating for action on SDG 10. Finally, we can engage in our own communities to help reduce inequality and provide access to resources for all. By doing so, we can all help SDG 10 move closer to being achieved.


Sustainable Development Goal 11 focuses on Sustainable Cities and Communities, aiming to make cities and human settlements safe, resilient and sustainable. Sustainable development projects will be implemented to reduce the risks of disaster, provide access to basic services, and promote green public spaces. Sustainable cities should have access to resources with minimal environmental impact, be economically viable and socially equitable.

Statistics and data related to Sustainable Development Goal 11 suggest that over half of the world's population now live in cities. By 2050, this figure is expected to rise to two-thirds of the world's population. This means that Sustainable Development Goal 11 is more important than ever, as cities will become increasingly crowded and resources will be overused.

Individuals can help to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11 by reducing their own carbon footprint and being conscious of how they use energy in their homes. This can be done by reducing the amount of water used in the home, switching to green energy sources such as solar and wind power, buying local products whenever possible, and avoiding single-use plastics. Sustainable cities also require citizens to take action and get involved in their community, such as by volunteering for local clean-up initiatives, joining Sustainable Development Goal 11 campaigns and participating in conversations about how to make their city more sustainable. By being conscious of the decisions we make and the impact they have on our environment, we can each take steps towards making Sustainable Cities and Communities a reality.

By taking a proactive approach to Sustainable Development Goal 11, we can all make a difference and help create sustainable cities that are environmentally friendly and socially equitable.

TOMbag tip: Make your city and community as sustainable as possible by switching to reusable eco-friendly products - say your final “NO” to single-use plastic products including compostable and biodegradable products (Yes, those are NOT good for the environment and are finally starting to get banned by many governments all over the world including Australia).


Sustainable Development Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, is all about ensuring responsible consumption and production patterns while also improving resource efficiency. Sustainable consumption means using resources in a way that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable production means minimising negative environmental impacts and optimising positive ones throughout the entire product life-cycle.

Currently, the world is consuming resources at an unsustainable rate and this is having a negative impact on the environment. The UN’s International Resources Panel projected that by 2050 the resource use per person will be 71 per cent higher than today which also means that humans will require three Earths to supply our needs. This could lead to greater levels of resource depletion, poverty, and inequality in the coming decades if not addressed now.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can help us achieve responsible consumption and production patterns. Individuals are the biggest consumers of resources, making up half of global resource consumption. Therefore, making small changes in our daily lives is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.

Some of the things that individuals can do to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12 include buying wisely, reducing consumption of food and energy, reusing or repairing items instead of throwing them away, and shopping at second-hand stores. We can also support sustainable companies that are dedicated to reducing their environmental impact, such as those that prioritise renewable energy, ethical sourcing or are B Corp certified. Additionally, we can encourage our governments to set up policies that support Sustainable Development Goal 12 and responsible consumption and production practices.

It is essential that individuals make conscious decisions that prioritise Sustainable Development Goal 12 and responsible consumption and production. Making small changes in our daily lives can have a big impact in the long run. Sustainable Development Goal 12 is achievable and we all have the power to help make it happen.

TOMbag tip: Choose to reuse! Switch to reusable alternatives to single-use water bottles, coffee cups, single-use shopping bags and single-use garbage bags, nappies, wipes, etc. Opt for ethical, transparent and local businesses. Go vegan or at least introduce more plant-based options into your diet.


Sustainable Development Goal number 13, Climate Action, is all about taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It calls for urgent measures to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards, and implement adaptation measures in order to minimise the effect of global warming.

Climate change is a present and growing threat to human safety and well-being, as well as to ecosystems around the world. In one of its recent articles, Bloomberg reported that every year 1 in 10 people globally are dying as a result of abnormally cold or hot temperatures caused by climate change. Developing and emerging countries are expected to spend $2 trillion each year by 2030 to cope with the consequences of climate change.

There are things each of us can do to help combat climate change. Reducing energy usage is a great place to start. This can mean turning off lights when you leave a room, using LED bulbs, carpooling or taking public transportation, and unplugging appliances when you're not using them. Buying locally produced food is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also support green businesses, plant trees, and recycle whenever possible. Switching to reusable products such as reusable produce bags, reusable shopping bags or reusable garbage bags will help promote a circular economy and eliminate take-make-waste mentality.

TOMbag tip: Support businesses that plant trees and donate a part of their revenues to environmental charities that help to reverse climate change.


Sustainable Development Goal Number 14, titled 'Life Below Water', is all about conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. Sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources is essential for global well-being and our ocean’s health as it delivers a wide range of services that are critical to all aspects of human life. Unfortunately, ocean-based activities and related industries such as fisheries and aquaculture are being affected by unsustainable and illegal activities.

Statistics collected by different organisations including the United Nations show that:

We can all make a difference to help Sustainable Development Goal Number 14 by taking small steps such as avoiding single-use plastics such as single-use shopping bags, produce bags or single-use garbage bags, refusing seafood as a part of our diets, and supporting organisations that are dedicated to marine conservation.

We all must take personal responsibility for our actions and recognize that the health of the oceans is essential to our own well-being. Sustainable Development Goal Number 14 is a reminder that we need to be more mindful of how our actions impact the oceans and its sea life so that future generations can continue to enjoy a healthy, thriving ecosystem.

TOMbag tip: Join your local beach clean-up to keep trash out of our oceans!


Sustainable Development Goal number 15, Life on Land, is a part of the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations in 2015. This goal aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and stop and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Due to human activity, such as overexploitation, air pollution, water pollution and climate change, there has been a marked decrease in the quality of life on land.

According to the World Economic Forum, one-third of global forests have been lost since the industrial revolution. This has had a devastating effect on biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as providing fewer resources such as timber and food.

In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 15, we need to work together. There are many things each of us can do on an individual level to help protect and restore life on land. For example, we can plant trees to increase the number of oxygen-producing trees, reducing air pollution. We can also reduce the amount of water we use, and try to avoid using products that contain unsustainable materials or those that require a lot of energy to produce. If possible, we can also try to choose products that are made from sustainable materials and use renewable energy sources for our homes and businesses.

In addition, we can educate ourselves and others about Sustainable Development Goal 15 and the importance of preserving life on land. By supporting organisations and initiatives that work to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 15, we can help create a better future for ourselves and future generations.

TOMbag tip: Support businesses that help to achieve the SDG 15 by planting trees - TOMbag has been proudly supporting One Tree Planted by planting a tree for each product we sell.


Sustainable Development Goal number 16 (SDG 16) is focused on peace, justice and strong institutions. This goal seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide equal access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

SDG 16 includes several targets, such as reducing the number of deaths from violence, increasing access to justice for all, and improving public trust in institutions.

It is estimated that more than 5 billion people live outside the formal justice system, resulting in unequal access to legal remedies.

It is important for individuals to recognize their role in promoting peace, justice and strong institutions. There are a number of ways each of us can contribute to the achievement of SDG 16. One way is to take part in civic engagement activities, such as voting in elections, attending public forums and engaging with local authorities. We can also support organisations that are working to promote peace, justice and strong institutions. Finally, we can stay informed about the Sustainable Development Goals and spread awareness among our peers.


Sustainable Development Goal 17, also known as Partnerships for the Goals, is one of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations to improve and protect the lives of people around the world. It aims to strengthen global partnerships and mobilise resources for Sustainable Development initiatives.

The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors, international organisations, civil society groups, philanthropists and all other stakeholders. This helps to ensure much-needed resources and support reach Sustainable Development initiatives around the world.

According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17 report, in 2020 there was a $2.5 trillion funding gap for Sustainable Development initiatives. This highlights the urgent need for greater partnerships and collaboration between all actors in order to help close this gap and further progress Sustainable Development initiatives.

As individuals, we can help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 17 by engaging in Sustainable Development initiatives ourselves. We can also seek out partnerships with our local communities and organisations, such as schools, businesses and NGOs. By doing so, we can help to build meaningful connections that result in more resources and support for Sustainable Development initiatives.

We can also support Sustainable Development initiatives by advocating for Sustainable Development policies to our local governments. This helps to ensure Sustainable Development initiatives are taken seriously and implemented at a larger scale. Finally, we can also use our resources to fund Sustainable Development initiatives, such as donating money or time.

TOMbag tip: Get in touch with your local Council and get your voice heard on topics related to SDGs.

You don't have to be a world leader or hold any position of power to help achieve the SDGs. In fact, everyone has a role to play in achieving them – as an individual, community member, business owner or civil society organisation. There are many ways you can get involved and make your voice heard on this important issue. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

As an ethical and responsible B Corp certified business, by promoting reusable and fully circular alternatives to single-use plastics TOMbag contributes to a number of Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities;
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production;
SDG 13: Climate Action;
SDG 14: Life Below Water;
SDG 15: Life On Land.

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