Explore synergies between TRUE and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Published on: 
13 Nov 2023
Sumner Byrne

Feature image credit: Inditex.

Administered by GBCI, TRUE is a zero waste certification program that encourages sustainable resource management and waste reduction practices. TRUE promotes strategies that transform how materials flow through society, encouraging processes that consider the entire life cycle of products to address climate change and facilitate the shift to a circular economy.

A new resource

TRUE recognizes the inextricable links between human health, environmental health and economic prosperity. There are many synergies between TRUE and the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were created as a global effort to address the social, economic and environmental issues facing society today.

A new resource titled "Advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Through TRUE" highlights these synergies while demonstrating the impact of TRUE in a global context. It is intended to be used as a tool to identify and target strategies to achieve specific U.N. SDGs through TRUE certification. It is also a helpful depiction of how GBCI’s TRUE rating system is aligned with global efforts to create a more resilient, equitable and sustainable world for all.

Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals

TRUE addresses 15 of the 17 SDGs. Take a look at how TRUE advances the following goals:

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

  • Reducing pollution that may end up in waterways through the redesign of facility operations, adoption of purchasing agreements and reuse of waste products throughout all points in the production chain.
  • Minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and waste into waterways by avoiding their use, eliminating their dumping and encouraging their proper handling, storage, reuse and disposal.
  • Reducing contamination of groundwater drinking supplies from leachate produced by landfills and incineration plants through implementation of zero waste practices and policies.
  • Protecting against eutrophication through composting grass clippings, yard trimmings and food waste, and by encouraging the use of compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
  • Encouraging the use of native and xeriscape plantings that require little or no irrigation, aiding the sustainable management of potable water.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

  • Creating jobs in recycling, reuse and redesign, which account for 10 times more jobs than waste to landfill.
  • Supporting the health and safety of workers in waste management industries through job hazard analysis, worker health and safety plans, and responsible management of hazardous waste.
  • Fostering a closed-loop system that allows for economic productivity without degrading the planet or its finite resources.
  • Promoting the inclusion of all employees in company-wide waste reduction activities by incentivizing participation, incorporating zero waste activities into orientation and training, and communicating openly about program updates, successes and opportunities.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

  • Alleviating the health crisis caused by the unequal exposure of underserved neighborhoods to harmful waste processing and disposal facilities via waste diversion and reduction strategies, leading to fewer landfills, incinerators and waste sites.
  • Minimizing the burden of resource overexploitation and extraction, which disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, through the promotion of reuse, recycling and closed-loop systems.
  • Lessening global land-use inequalities by reducing single-use consumption and the amount of trash and recyclables exported from certain countries and disposed of in others.
  • Empowering community members to take an active role in zero waste initiatives such as cleanups, fundraisers, public events, educational campaigns and more.

Explore the TRUE and U.N. SDG synergies