Global goals, local action: meeting the Global Goals in the West of England

a clothes rail and two (white) hands searching
By Lucy Gilbert, Head of Policy

The UN’s Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are designed to be a guide to achieving a better and more sustainable future. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 and they are proving to be a useful tool for aligning local, national and international efforts to reduce disadvantage and tackle the climate emergency.

The goals were originally drawn up to focus governments’ efforts on supporting ‘developing’ countries, but they’ve been gaining momentum worldwide as leaders recognise that there is work to do in every country. There are some big ambitions contained within them, including achieving zero hunger, reducing inequality everywhere and ending poverty in all its forms.

Our businesses increasingly use them, Bristol City Council’s One City Plan uses them, and we have the Global Goals Centre and Bristol’s SDG Alliance who are promoting the goals in Bristol and beyond. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Global Goals will help us understand the impact of our funding

Quartet and the Global Goals

We’ve recently been exploring how the Global Goals might help us at Quartet. We think they’re a really powerful tool we can use to focus our efforts and understand the impact of our funding.

The goals also let us assess where our work fits in the wider picture of other activity and funding in our area, and where there might be gaps or priorities for action… You can expect to see more reference to the Global Goals coming through our work.

Thanks to a grant from the Global Challenges Local Solutions Fund, we’ve been starting to use the Global Goals to monitor impact through our involvement in the Bristol City Funds collaboration. We’re excited by the possibilities – understanding how the local action we take in the West of England forms part of a much bigger global agenda. You can expect to see more reference to the Global Goals coming through our work. We hope this will help you, as well as us, to feel more informed and inspired by the important work taking place in our region.  

Bristol SDG Alliance

Quartet joined Bristol’s SDG Alliance in July this year. The Alliance is a group of organisations from across Bristol that help each other to understand, adopt and promote the goals. Members include the local authority, local businesses, universities, and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

Bristol is leading the way in this sphere, with the SDG Alliance launching the UK’s first ‘voluntary local review’ (VLR) into our progress as a city on reaching the goals. The Voluntary Local Review shared data and case studies on how Bristol is adopting the Global Goals. It also created a handbook to help other UK local authorities get involved too.

The SDG Alliance supports conversations with partners to shape priorities for the future. The common language and targets provided by the goals have helped unite very different local organisations, checking what progress we are making and how we can work together to do more.

  • All organisations working in Bristol are welcome to join the SDG Alliance and they are actively seeking new members from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Email if you’d like to know more.

Our grants tackling fast fashion

The Global Goals Centre is an educational charity in Bristol creating engaging experiences that inspire learning and action on climate and equality. Their projects are all based around the UN’s Global Goals. They recognise how vital it is that more people take action for a greener, fairer future, so their immersive projects are designed to increase the likelihood of lasting behaviour change for the people who take part.

The group has developed an innovative online game called Threads to illustrate fast fashion’s impact on the planet. Last month, they received a grant of £4,805 from Quartet to deliver a series of interactive workshops in schools based around the game. The workshops will enable young people aged 10-14 to understand more about the social and environmental impacts of fast fashion, and how they can take easy, affordable and creative action to bring about positive change.

Interested in local approaches to climate change?

Read our Vital Signs 2021 ‘Climate and communities’ report, which examines how we are already affected. It includes local and national data on energy and transport, food, weather and nature.

Vital Signs 2021 ‘Climate and communities’


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