The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive challenge worldwide that has required management action from leaders across all organizations. But many other global challenges have been forcing their way onto the management agenda too – the climate emergency, biodiversity collapse, #BlackLivesMatter, and #MeToo for example.
We tend to assume these kinds of challenges are for governments to deal with. But increasingly, citizens – both as customers and employees – expect businesses to be playing a leadership role in tackling global challenges too. And more and more businesses are.
At the height of the pandemic, for example, Apple announced its intention to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030 – including emissions from across its supply chain and product life cycle. Unilever has goals for its supply chain to be deforestation-free. More and more businesses are engaging in human rights due diligence across their value chain. Companies are increasingly embedding tackling global sustainability challenges into the heart of their corporate strategies.
EF is no exception. In 2022 we launched our first EF Impact report, outlining how we integrate action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the heart of our strategy as a business. As a business focused on education and cultural exchange around the world, we are focused on educating to advance sustainable development, human rights, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and global citizenship. We like to think our work facilitating cultural exchange ultimately helps contribute to SDG#16 – global peace, as well as SDG#4 – quality education. However, historically, our education and cultural exchange work has relied on air travel and other activities which have all come with a carbon footprint. This has led us to the launch in 2021 of our initiative Hello Zero, our goal to become historically carbon-neutral, thus also contributing to SDG#13 – climate action.