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As we approach the end of the SDG Super Year that began with such a compelling imperative to advance the Global Goals, it would be understandable to feel slightly defeated given so many of us spent 2020 focusing on more local challenges.


It is possible to post-rationalise a link between the abstract behaviours we all adopted during lockdown and their collective contribution to the SDGs.


We certainly consumed less energy (although a lot more food in my case, so Goal 2’s Zero Hunger objective was comfortably smashed).


Goal 3’s Good Health & Well-Being agenda will perhaps never again play such a dominant role in the global conversation.


In the same vein, so many of us saw first-hand the immense challenges of educating our children and it is hard to imagine that learning systems largely unchanged for a century will not now respond to their exposed short-comings.


The often ignored and slightly wonkish Goal 11 and its focus on Sustainable Cities and Communities suddenly felt tangible and critical as so many of us came together in supporting the public workers previously unseen and overlooked.


On a local basis, Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure) became an existential challenge, but without doubt the speed of progress in reforming sectors that had been painfully resistant to change will accelerate out of a new necessity.


Perhaps most of all, Goal 8’s demand for Decent Work and Economic Growth will be viewed through a different lens as the reset forces so many people to redefine their personal goals around changing circumstances.


So as we move gingerly from micro to macro, and re-engage in a world where alleviating global poverty is restored as a priority over finding out which of our children stole the phone charger AGAIN, I would encourage you to hold close the insights and lessons of 2020 and apply them to addressing the Global Goals as effectively as we faced down the local imperatives of the pandemic response.


Despite it all, 2020 was a Super Year in a more extreme and literal way than any of us imagined. I hope 2021 allows us to seize amazing new opportunities to further the SDGs as we rebuild and restructure the balance of our lives.

Matthew Freud

Chairman, freuds and The Brewery

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