Foto: UN.org

How UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Changed Our Mindset

United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals challenge companies and individuals’ way of thinking and doing business. Partnerships are vital for creating the required change, like other startups this is how we have built our business in Suncil. We have learned that the SDG’s are more than a hip branding platform. Most of all it is a global collective narrative on how every company and individual can secure a more sustainable world.

Manufacturing technological intelligent off-grid solar energy for street lighting, infrastructure and recreational areas for United Arab Emirates, Marroco and Australia, to mention a few, we already worked with the SDG’s in Suncil before they reached the national and global magnitude they today, more than 3 years later since the UN approved them, have in Denmark and beyond.

It was not until we made a conscious choice to integrate the goals into our business model though that our mindset around building Suncil changed. As a Danish based but global operating company, we are depended on partnering with local anchored distributors, installers and suppliers in order to secure a sustainable revenue model.

Connecting our Danish head quarter where we develop, test and manufacture the solar poles with partners that have the market knowhow and experience is the entire foundation upon which Suncil is founded.

SDG’s in R&D to sale

Denmark will never be our home market, not because we do not want it to be, but because the Nordic climate with more dark hours than sun hours makes it difficult, even with the latest technology, to fulfil government lighting requirements.

Striving for survival while developing a series of new products for the street lighting industry is easier said than done.

Government specifications for street lighting, surprisingly do not vary much according to country, what does vary though is the number of sun hours, and this is why regions like the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific have and still remain our top priority.

Striving for survival while developing a series of new products for the street lighting industry is easier said than done, everything is riding on capital influx, trusted partnerships, timing and a bit of good old fashioned luck. Back in early 2018 where we in Suncil decided to implement the SDG’s into our entire organisational body, from sales department to R&D, we had little idea of what public awareness the goals would bring to our company.

From marketing to core business

Initially, the SDG’s were a part of our marketing department. We used the 4 SDG’s relevant for Suncil’s renewable energy mission, honestly, we did not give it too much thought at the time because all we knew was the SDG’s looked good on the company resume.

Initially, the SDG’s were a part of our marketing department.

Public recognition, especially among politicians and public decision makers who set the specifications for street lighting, is crucial for a new manufacture on the horizon like Suncil trying to break through an otherwise fairly conservative industry where risk willingness still is very limited.

Based upon our 4 SDG’s we started sharing Suncil’s story out through social media, telling how a small Danish startup in collaboration with Danish and international partners, had developed and pushed out an innovative and Scandinavian designed street lighting product powered 100% by the sun.

SDG’s for everyone

When Suncil entered 2019, we started seeing the results of our effort with the SDG’s. We were invited to join IDA, Engineer Union of Denmark, Sustainability Caravane, a series of company visits throughout Denmark focusing on how to strategically work with the SDG’s.

The Sustainability Caravane became our SDG platform, and before we knew it, we had had more publicity in 2 months than in the last 2 years.

What we discovered was, it was not the media attention that mattered, what mattered was the opportunity to share our story with other companies, business people and working professionals on how any company, big or small, can work with the SDG’s to bring about concrete action regardless targeting climate change, poverty or gender disparity.

Any company can work with the SDG’s to bring about concrete action regardless targeting climate change, poverty or gender disparity.

Communicating and reinforcing that message over and over, distributing our experience to others who do not know how to get started, that has become our goal as we have continued participating in the dialogue on the SDG’s.

Co-creating tomorrow

Our greatest learning in Suncil however has been that it is only together as companies and individuals we grow from each other.

Sharing knowledge, obstacles and rewards is what the SDG’s are about, a strategic and transparent way to collaborate and create lasting impact for a sustainable future.

This approach has also proven right when it comes to innovating a traditional industry, educating the entire ecosystem of street lighting on the many practical and financial benefits that are associated with using off-grid solar powered poles and luminaries.

The SDG’s are not concerned with easy quick fix solutions, instead they are concerned with issues that require a whole new mindset, maturing it will take years, perhaps even decades, but by using the SDG’s as a local and global narrative, even the smallest company can create change like we slowly, but steady, strive towards in Suncil.

Together, we create the future of tomorrow!