SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals


The Sustainable Development Goals is the list of 17 interlinked goals (SDGs) designed and adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 (to succeed the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015), to provide a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” (see: sustainability). They are intended to be achieved by 2030, so they are included in a UN-GA Resolution called the 2030 Agenda or what is colloquially known as Agenda 2030.  

According to the official site of the SDGs the story started in 90. XX, and the milestones (which reflect the political, cultural and economic dynamics of the process) were:  

  • June 1992: at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action to build a global partnership for sustainable development to improve human lives and protect the environment. 
  • September 2000: Member States unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration at the Millennium Summit at UN Headquarters in New York. The Summit led to the elaboration of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. 
  • 2002: The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation, adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa, reaffirmed the global community's commitments to poverty eradication and the environment, and built on Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration by including more emphasis on multilateral partnerships. 
  • June 2012: At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Member States adopted the outcome document "The Future We Want" in which they decided to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs to build upon the MDGs and to establish the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.  
  • 2013: The General Assembly set up a 30-member Open Working Group to develop a proposal on the SDGs. 
  • January 2015: The General Assembly began the negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda. The process culminated in the subsequent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 SDGs at its core, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. 
  • 2015 was a landmark year for multilateralism and international policy shaping, with the adoption of several major agreements: Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (March 2015); Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (July 2015); Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 SDGs was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2015; Paris Agreement on Climate Change (December 2015) 

The annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development serves as the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the SDGs. 

The list 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve the oceans and forests. 

The list of interdepend 17 SDGs consists of the goals: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reduced Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals. 

The SDGs pay attention to multiple cross-cutting issues, like gender equity, education, and culture cut across all of the SDGs. As in an original version the goals were defined in a general way, in 2017 the SDGs were made more "actionable". The resolution identifies specific targets for each goal, along with indicators that are being used to measure progress toward each target. The year by which the target is meant to be achieved is usually between 2020 and 2030. For some of the targets, no end date is given. 

There is a Goal 2 (SDG 2) which directly relates to food issue (to achieve "zero hunger”, and more precisely, to "end hunger), achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture". SDG 2 highlights the complex inter-linkages between food security, nutrition, rural transformation and sustainable agriculture. The problem is defined as a global issue; however, the statistics show huge differences between various regions (f.i. Europe - Africa).  

We can find the links between fashion&food if we look at the topics through the other SDGs – as discussed and reflected in the list of the entries, fashion & food might be analysed through the lens of accessibility, production, consumption, water and energy needed to produce food and clothes, waste, but also education, organisation of economic systems etc. If we agree that local communities may support sustainability of food and fashion (production, consumption) the Goal 11 is very important as well.  

The questions that might be addressed here are: 

  • How we can use the knowledge about food (measures, indicators etc) and “visibility” of food issue (as one of the SDGs) might be used in studies on fashion? 
  • How to make a fashion issue more “visible” in the context of SDGs?  
  • Analogically to SDG 2, can we think of something that is about fashion (especially clothes, but also other ordinary objects people use, shoes, furniture, “gadgets”), such as “clothes security”, “fashion promoting sustainability” (including gender equality, peace, justice, responsible production, consumption)  
  • What knowledge and skills are needed to make and maintain sustainable development of food and fashion?  

As the SDGs work as a broad umbrella, there is a huge number of programmes and local, national and global initiatives that aims to implement the goals. For example:   

The list of the projects implementing the SDGs goals through the urban living labs (SUGI call focused on food-energy-water nexuses):  

Projects on sustainability and food (to look at the case studies developed within the projects): (Polish part led by Ewa Kopczyńska) 

Projects on sustainability and fashion:  

Project Cece: sustainable, ethical clothes, stores etc: “5 sustainability filters: environmentally friendly, fair trade, vegan, locally produced, and good cause. By filtering on sustainability labels, you only shop the products that fit your values. It is also possible to filter on certificates and materials.’:  

a) Academic/peer reviewed 

Gardetti, M. A., & Muthu, S. S. (Eds.). (2020). The UN sustainable development goals for the textile and fashion industry. Berlin, Germany: Springer.(  

Hák, T., Janoušková, S., & Moldan, B. (2016). Sustainable Development Goals: A need for relevant indicators. Ecological indicators, 60, 565-573. 

Kabisch, S., Finnveden, G., Kratochvil, P., Sendi, R., Smagacz-Poziemska, M., Matos, R. and Bylund, J., 2019. New Urban Transitions towards Sustainability: Addressing SDG Challenges (Research and Implementation Tasks and Topics from the Perspective of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe). Sustainability, 11(8), p.2242. DOI: 10.3390/su11082242  

Nicholls, E., Ely, A., Birkin, L., Basu, P., & Goulson, D. (2020). The contribution of small-scale food production in urban areas to the sustainable development goals: A review and case study. Sustainability Science, 15(6), 1585-1599.  

Vijeyarasa, R., & Liu, M. (2022). Fast Fashion for 2030: Using the Pattern of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Cut a More Gender-Just Fashion Sector. Business and Human Rights Journal, 7(1), 45-66.  

b) Other sources 


Agenda 2030 Resolution: