This article is about partnerships for the goals, which is goal number 17 in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The SDGs are a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new UN 2030 sustainable development agenda. Every goal has specific targets to be achieved over 15 years, starting in 2015.

You can find out more information about the SDGs by clicking here.

There is a lot of good across the 17 SDGs, but for me number 17, partnerships for the goals has always been very important.

To be successful on sustainable development, we need governments, the private sector and civil society to work together more collaboratively to solve the big challenges that are out there waiting to be solved.

No one business, NGO or government is going to solve huge intractable issues like providing clean energy and water to a large and growing global population. But by working together there is more of a chance that these issues can be solved.

What I thought I would do is give 3 examples of partnerships that have impressed me and that have helped to move the sustainability agenda forward.

1. BoKlok

This is a really interesting partnership which sees two iconic Swedish companies team up to solve the problem of providing affordable housing. You can find more about it here.


This partnership combines the skills of both parties to solve a large problem that they would struggle to solve individually. It combines Skanska’s experience of building homes with IKEA’s experience of decorating them. Together this partnership has the possibility of creating affordable homes for everyone.

I saw a line recently that said ‘the problem with homes is that they are built like homes, they should be built like cars.’ I thought how accurate this was when I heard it. For all the technological advancements in other areas, the arena of housebuilding has only been modestly touched with innovation. This partnership is exactly the sort of collaboration that is needed to solve a problem that needs to be solved.

2. The Net-Works Programme

We talked about Interface only a short while ago, which you can find here. But they are a sustainability leader and so rightly deserve to be mentioned again.

In the Net-Works Programme Interface has partnered with the Zoological Society of London to buy discarded fishing nets from poor communities. The nets are then recycled into new yarn to make Interface’s Aquafil carpet tiles.

This partnership is great for a number of reasons. It should result in fewer discarded nets making their way into the sea as ghost nets, it means that less virgin materials are required and it has created a new source of income for poor fishing communities. It also makes great business sense for Interface at a time when everyone everywhere is seemingly focussed on ocean plastics.

If you would like more information about the Net-Works Programme, you can find out more by watching the video via the link below.

Making Waste Beautiful: How Net-Works Works

3. P&G, Teracycle & SUEZ

Not three names that you would normally put together in one sentence but these companies have partnered to create packaging that is made from 100% recycled content, including recycled beach plastic.

Recycling winner

Whilst the numbers of units at the beginning of this initiative are small, that is the way with any new project. What they have done is an impressive proof of concept and they can go onto bigger things in the future.

Much like the other partnerships we have discussed, all three of the partners bring something unique to the table. Alone, this challenge would be too big, even for global companies like SUEZ and P&G. But by working together and including the services of recycling trailblazers Teracycle, they have managed to create something remarkable.

What you need to know

This article was about partnerships for the goals, which is goal number 17 in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We looked into how partnerships can act as a force multiplier, allowing businesses, NGO’s and governments to solve problems that they would struggle to solve individually.

We looked into BoKlok, the partnership between Skanska and Ikea to help make more affordable housing available.

We looked into the Net-Works Programme which brings Interface together with the Zoological Society of London to buy discarded fishing nets from poor communities and then use the materials to create carpet tiles.

We looked into the P&G, Teracycle and SUEZ collaboration which is pioneering the use of packaging made of 100% recycled plastic, including plastic removed from beaches and oceans.

All of these partnerships show how by working together, organisations can achieve dramatic results that help make sustainability happen.

Goal 17 may be the last goal on the SDGs, but it will be the glue that holds the rest together. We need more bold partnerships and initiatives to help make sure that the SDG’s are achieved across the board.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What is the most impressive partnership that you have come across?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby



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