United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation in history to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.

What are the SDGs?

The UN SDGs are a universal set of 17 goals with 169 corresponding targets that were agreed upon by UN member countries to solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges within 15 years. They aim to end poverty and hunger, increase access to education, address migration, combat climate change, and reduce inequality. They are increasingly being embraced the world over, not just by governments, but also by civil society, academia, and the private sector, as a way to break down silos and effectively collaborate around a common and universal development agenda.

Goals for Industrial Design

There are seven SDGs in particular that have been identified by WDO members as particularly relevant to the industrial design community. They are SDGs 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 17.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can Industrial Design help to achieve the SDGs?


At its heart, design has always been about finding a better way, and improving quality of life. The design process—its focus on the end users and the environment in which they live—can provide a fresh and innovative perspective on the international development agenda.

Why do the SDGs matter to Industrial Designers?


Now more than ever, industrial design prioritizes accessibility, affordability, reliability, sustainability, respect for the user and the environment. Design for a better world is the very ethos of the upcoming generation of designers, who are placing human needs first, striking the right balance between people, planet and profit. Those industrial designers who solve some of our biggest economic, social and environmental problems will also experience some of the most lucrative growth opportunities.

Why is WDO embracing the SDGs?


For 60 years, WDO has been promoting industrial design and its power to improve quality of life. Today, more than ever, there is an imperative for us as the world body for industrial design to amplify the voices of those designers who are bringing a new perspective to some of our planet’s biggest economic, social and environmental challenges. As an international NGO with United Nations consultative status, WDO is aligning its work to the universally accepted SDGs and their respective targets, as impetus for united and concerted action by the some 400,000 designers that we represent, to position design as a catalyst for positive change.

What is WDO’s World Design Agenda? How do members benefit from it?


WDO’s World Design Agenda is a framework for action that helps to mobilize our industrial design community around a common set of goals. Using the SDGs as its common language, WDO’s World Design Agenda helps us to align our work across 40 countries and six regions, establish common ground, set new objectives and report on our progress to Design a better world. It enables us to speak as a unified voice when accessing multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations, to promote a design-led perspective on the 2030 development agenda. Be sure to attend the WDO GA on 14-15 October in Torino, Italy where we will exchange information about how you can benefit from aligning with the UN SDGs. A draft of WDO’s World Design Agenda will be shared with members in the weeks leading up to our general assembly.