A Research-Based Approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A Prerequisite to Sustainable Business

33 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2020 Last revised: 5 May 2021

See all articles by Beate Sjåfjell

Beate Sjåfjell

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

Tiina Häyhä

Stockholm University - Stockholm Resilience Center

Sarah Cornell

Stockholm University - Stockholm Resilience Center

Date Written: January 28, 2020

Abstract

This paper explores the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of EU action to promote the contribution of business to sustainability. Using the planetary boundaries and the ‘safe and just space’ framework , this paper interrogates what a research-based multidimensional concept of sustainability means for the implementation of the SDGs. We start out with what it means to be operating within the limits of our planet. Moving on to the concept of securing social foundations for humanity now and for the future within planetary boundaries, we discuss what this entails in terms of social justice, touching on a number of issues that do not seem to have been sufficiently integrated in the SDGs and EU’s follow-up. We then explore risks of continued unsustainability, with a particular focus on business. We further discuss EU initiatives to promote sustainable business. We summarise the gaps the paper has identified, in research, both conceptually and applied, in policy, and in strategies for achieving sustainability, concluding with reflections on the unprecedented collaboration across and beyond academia that would be required to implement the SDGs in a manner that ensures sustainability.

Keywords: planetary boundaries, social foundations, social justice, human rights, sustainable development, sustainability, EU Treaty law, EU Green Deal, business law, corporate law, corporate governance, sustainable finance, circular economy, sustainability science

Suggested Citation

Sjåfjell, Beate and Häyhä, Tiina and Cornell, Sarah, A Research-Based Approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A Prerequisite to Sustainable Business (January 28, 2020). University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2020-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3526744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526744

Beate Sjåfjell (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://www.jus.uio.no/ifp/english/people/aca/beatesj/

Tiina Häyhä

Stockholm University - Stockholm Resilience Center ( email )

Kräftriket 2B
Stockholm, SE-114 19
Sweden

Sarah Cornell

Stockholm University - Stockholm Resilience Center ( email )

Kräftriket 2B
Stockholm, SE-114 19
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stockholmresilience.org/

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