Sustainability for a Healthy Planet

David Casey, Wellness & Health Promotion Manager at DeCare, discusses how health and well-being can drive sustainable development and lead to a healthy society on a healthy planet.

Small businesses can play a crucial role as drivers of innovation and as engines of economic growth and employment. Sustainable consumption represents a common challenge for public authorities (at all levels) and consumers, as well as small businesses. 

Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations is a balancing act. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a ‘blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’. The SDGs, set in 2015, are intended to be achieved by the year 2030 and small workplaces have a role to play. 

Small businesses need to focus and measure what matters from the start to promote healthy people in a healthy society on a healthy planet. Depending on the sector and type of work, businesses should consider in planning, place shaping and land mix use, along with connectivity and accessibility. 

Many companies are leaning towards the promotion of green exercise with health and wellbeing agendas. Green exercise refers to physical exercise undertaken in natural environments. Physical exercise is well known to provide physical and psychological health benefits with minimal costs and resources to employers setting up a run or lunchtime walk. 

Mental Health

Focus on health and wellbeing at work meets another SDG goal which includes reducing premature mortality from non- communicable diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This is done through screenings and prevention and also through promoting mental health and wellbeing. Financial literacy education and benefits increase access to quality essential healthcare services and promote positive mental health. Fully respecting human rights is one of the most fundamental ways businesses can help to realise the SDGs – and to remove significant barriers to social inclusion and organisational development. Organisations can also help address critical mega-trends such as climate change, resource depletion, demographic shifts, migration and urbanisation, corporate governance and low level of awareness of the SDGs in Ireland. 

A Global Issue

Effects of global climate change on human health has direct effects causing death, illness, injury in heatwaves, respiratory effects, pollen, dust, floods and fires. It also has indirect effects leading to the spread of vector borne diseases, the transmission of contagious diseases, along with crop production, water and rising sea levels, which all affect society and businesses today. 

We are the last generation that can fight climate change, we have a duty to act. Starting a health and wellbeing programme for your employees today not only promotes happy healthier workers but meets many of the Sustainable Development Goals set out for 2030. Ask yourself today what change can your business make for 2020 to help create healthier people in a healthy society on a healthy planet?

DeCare offers benefits, wellbeing and mental health training along with wellness programmes that help create ‘Happier Healthier Lives’. These programmes help sustain a healthy work culture that educates, motivates and empowers employees to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviours.