​The SDG Accord - how does it help colleges?

Matthew Green, Head of Commercial Services at South Devon College explains how the mandatory reporting requirement of the SDG Accord has really helped them improve their sustainability as a college.
"The completion of the SDG Accord reporting has been extremely beneficial in raising the focus on sustainability at South Devon College and it came at a time when we were in the process of writing our ten-year sustainability strategy. With a key aim of the strategy being to raise awareness among our stakeholders, (particularly our staff and learners of which 16-18 at a higher education is a key focus) it was extremely important that we fully engage them. At this point it is likely that students will progress to higher education, or into the workplace so this level of sustainability awareness and understanding can cement their knowledge by providing them with the tools to incorporate this into all aspects of their lives (professional & home).
"We are aware that within the FE demographic there can be a stigma attached to the “S Word” (sustainability), where the assumption is that it is all about turning off lights and not eating meat. We believe that the goals are an exciting way to bring the sustainability agenda to life.
"The longevity of the SDGs demonstrates that they are established and we now have a further ten years, ten important years, to not only raise their profile, also to incorporate them into all of our lives. 
"The "World to do List" as the SDGs are known can be an accurate reflection of what they strive to achieve and an excellent tool when communicating to learners. In education, if we can embed the goals into everything that our students do, both in the curriculum and in their lives, we are sure that this will make the world a better place. What better way to do this than through education in these vital, influential years?!
"To help us complete the SDG Accord reporting, there was an easy to follow guide on www.sdgaccord.org and the examples from other institutions were very useful/relevant to map against. The collation of cross-college sustainability related evidence is vital for raising awareness at all levels and reporting on our SDG activities was fantastic, as we have been able to pull all activities together. We found that areas of the college were engaging in significant activities but were not necessarily well-known across the institution. By joining these up we have seen interdepartmental collaboration and more sustained, efficient use of resources by pooling together ideas and activities across the college.
"The Sustainable Development Goals will be embedded across all aspects of the college and will be key in both raising awareness and delivering our sustainability strategy. We will continue to collect and record information for the Accord and use this as a “live” record to support the delivery of sustainability at South Devon College."

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