Collective Action Needed to Overcome SDGs' Biggest Challenge


For many, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years recently from a socio-economic point of view. Covid-19 has significantly disrupted the job market, businesses and economies and livelihoods. Most devastating of all, there has been a significant loss of life for many close to us. We are now starting to understand Covid-19’s significant impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all across the globe. In order to counteract these setbacks , it is amfori’s hope that by the end of 2020 we can recognize the year as one for more collective action on the SDGs.

According to the recent report from the Gates Foundation on the impact of Covid-19 on the SDGs “we have been set back about 25 years in 25 weeks”. The report shows that with nearly every indicator that there has been significant regression.

Over the past year, amfori has studied and mapped the 10 SDGs where we make most impact. We address through our work in advancing sustainability in the supply chains of our member businesses addresses.

The Gates report specifically documents setbacks in at least 4 of these as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic:

  • Gender Equality: SDG 5
  • Quality Education: SDG 4
  • Good Health and Wellbeing: SDG 3
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: SDG 6

The report calls for more collaborative actions between governments and stakeholders. At amfori, we believe partnership and collaborative approach is essential in all activities to advance the SDGs in the future. 

Indeed, collaboration is at the core of amfori’s approach. A key to amfori’s advocacy strategy on Covid-19 has been partnering with other actors to amplify voices on sustainability to match the impact of the crisis. This has produced actions including a joint call with 14 multi stakeholder organizations for urgent action to protect workers in the textile industry, an endorsement of the IOE/ILO/ITUC Global Call for Action in the Garment Industry and contribution to its working groups, and an ongoing discussions with a group of associations to develop a new vision for the textile sector.

In addition, this year amfori has advanced significant agreements with UN Women on to further the UN’s Women Empowerment Principles amongst businesses and with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) on promoting cooperation on environmental performance in the garment and footwear sector. In the pipeline are also agreements with the ILO on supporting employment opportunities for Syrian migrants in Turkey, and an extension of our agreement with the IOM to promote ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers as well as combatting human trafficking in global labour supply chains. Furthermore, we have extended the membership of our Stakeholder Advisory Council from 12 to 17 participants including experts on gender equality, human rights and the environment.  We have also extended our message for collaborative action to the global governance level by joining business leaders to co-sign a UN Statement for renewed global cooperation and multilateralism, on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.


For further information on partnerships with amfori please contact Guggi Laryea – Senior Manager for Stakeholder Engagement

About amfori

amfori is the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade. Our vision is of a world where all trade delivers social, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.