The eighth Sustainable Development Goal aims to improve living standards through the creation of decent work and the cultivation of sustainable economic growth.
Why is sustainable economic growth important?
Most importantly, working towards decent work and long-term economic growth will support the financial situation necessary to invest in national infrastructure. Infrastructure refers to the basic systems and services within a country. This includes water systems, electrical systems, communication systems, transport, and buildings. Investment in infrastructure supports the improvement of social and health care institutions for a community. Such changes will improve global living standards and ensure that poverty, characterised by hunger, disease and impoverishment, becomes significantly reduced.
Goal eight reflects the aims that economic growth can be achieved through job creation and market diversification. The targets within goal eight are working to promote policies that support development and productive activities that will aid in job creation. Further targets aim to achieve universal access to banking and financial services that will support entrepreneurs and the growth of micro-, small and medium sized enterprises.
What is the importance of decent work?
Sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved without a safe and healthy workforce and this is where the significance of decent work comes in. Targets within this goal aim to end forced labour and slavery world wide. Goal eight focuses on the importance of labour rights and the creation of safe and secure places of work. Decent work is also unattainable to those that lack the relevant skills to enter the workforce. Goal 8 aims to work towards the goal of full employment by creating opportunities for all people to gain the skills that can provide them with long-term fulfilling employment.
Economic growth and decent work are two sides of the same coin. Decent work cannot be achieved without the job opportunities that opportunities for innovation and investment into infrastructure create. At the same time, long-term economic growth cannot be carried out without a healthy workforce.
How has Coronavirus affected this goal? :
- Guidance to stay at home, with the aim of safeguarding public health, has meant that less money is being put into the economy.
- A reduction in trade has resulted in many companies having to furlough their staff. This means that the government has stepped in to pay their wages where the company has been unable to in order to keep future employment a possibility.
- The impact of Coronavirus on some businesses has prompted innovation to keep their business alive and ensure their brand remains relevant.
- Businesses such as Rolls Royce, that are unable to innovate and adapt to the current economic climate, are losing money because customers have less money to buy their products. This has led to job loss and an increase in unemployment rates.
- Smaller businesses that lack the money to innovate also face the threat of insolvency because few customers are able to buy their products.
- Ensuring that measures are in place to protect staff against Coronavirus in the workplace has become a central issue as companies begin to reopen and staff begin to return.
How can you make a difference right now? :
- Buy goods from local businesses to support economic growth and job security within your local communities (especially where businesses have a narrow product range and are less able to adapt their services).
- Ensure you are aware of your rights within your workplace and that you understand and abide by policies that have been put in place to ensure your safety.
- Contribute to the protection of workers in frontline positions by making PPE at home that meets the standards put forward by the government.
- Make sure you are a conscientious consumer by purchasing goods that have been sustainably produced.
- Support educational opportunities for young people in all capacities to ensure that, while at home, they can continue to develop the skills that will make them employable in the future.