The University of Wolverhampton working ‘glocally’ for the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG icons with University logo

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are slowly becoming part and parcel of what we do. This is how the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) describes the SDGs:

“with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.”

Each Goal identifies a series of short or long-term targets to be achieved and further guidance on how to meet them, thereby providing additional support for making the sustainable transformation we need. The 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were actually adopted in September 2015 and came into force on 1 January 2016.

The UNAI then adds:

“The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.”

Two years ago the role of businesses in delivering the SDGs was presented at the University of Wolverhampton 2016 Crystal Lecture. Since then the ‘glocal’ work of the University of Wolverhampton, including several large projects, has been mapped against the SDGs and presented to several large audiences.

Recently, Wolverhampton City Council has taken a lead and is now reporting on their Sustainability Strategy and Implementation Plan against the SDGs.

Earlier this year the first report on UK progress against the SDGs compiled by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), ‘Measuring up’ was presented in Parliament. 

Alignment between the SDGs and the University of Wolverhampton Strategy

There is considerable alignment between the SDGs and our University Mission and Values:

Our mission is Maximising opportunity through generating knowledge, innovation and enterprise.

Our core values are that:

  • We will behave respectfully and ethically, in all that we do.
  • We will be inclusive and fair in our interaction with each other and with our wider community.
  • We will act professionally, transparently, confidently, collaboratively and challengingly when engaging with our communities both locally and globally.

These all align well with the SDGs.

The Times Higher Education is currently developing a new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in delivering the SDGs. Wherever possible we as a University need to be referencing the SDGs in delivering our strategy and in our actions.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things we are actually doing, both globally and locally, (i.e. ‘glocally’) towards achieving the SDGs.

Current university initiatives supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

CIDT’s work in fragile and conflict affected Somaliland to bring Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery to populations that have lost water through conflicts and/or who are vulnerable to drought. CIDT will support project teams so that WASH projects are inclusive for women, youth and disabled and other vulnerable groups and are designed and carried out with conflict sensitive methodologies.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

  • University of Wolverhampton Strategic Plan.
  • CIDT’s global work on Social Inclusion.
  • ICRD’s work with the City of Wolverhampton Council, to support the wellbeing of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.
  • Women Rough Sleepers work to support homelessness.

Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Goal 17: Revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Looking ahead we want to monitor and showcase the work and impact of our university for the SDGs ‘glocally’. I suspect there are many things missing here. If you know of other University initiatives that fit the SDGs please contact Philip Dearden (

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