Icon celebrates the UN's World Creativity and Innovation Day 21 April

The UN's 17 sustainable development goals

Creativity, innovation and purpose

Icon Agency staff share their commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for World Creativity and Innovation day, 21st of April 2021.

The United Nations’ World Creativity and Innovation Day is a day where we acknowledge the importance of creativity, innovation and purpose.

To mark the date, we sat down with Icon Agency’s Co-Founder and Head of Digital Chris Dodds, who explained how these concepts inform Icon’s work.

And we asked Icon’s staff and partners to share their commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and how they promote these in their professional and personal lives.

Creativity and Innovation with Chris Dodds

Laura Osborne - Senior Creative Account Manager

Goal 14: Life below water

To be in awe of something greater than myself is for me what life’s all about, and nothing fills me with that rush more than the ocean. As a scuba diver, instilled in me is a drive to protect marine life and an understanding of the enormity of the ocean’s role in tackling the climate crisis. As such, I stand behind Goal 14 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: life below water.

I’ve long followed and supported Project Zero, an Ocean Movement committed to protecting 30% of the ocean through a network of sanctuaries (national parks below the surface if you will). With only 2% of the ocean currently strongly protected, a global network of ocean sanctuaries will provide resilience in restoring the planet’s health. A very worthy cause to get behind if you ask me.

Day-to-day I’m working towards a plant-based diet, investing in innovative solutions to help alleviate my consumption in the long term and supporting brands that are taking credible action towards sustainable fashion. During Melbourne’s first COVID-19 lockdown I used my time sharing ideas and tips on how individuals can live more sustainably, sharing my own personal journey along the way (@biggerthanme).

Instagram page Bigger Than Me

Gerard Roche - Senior Digital Producer

Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

When reviewing the SDGs, it would be natural to think I would align with the tech-inspired ones. But I don't think that way due to the interrelatedness of the SDGs. I aim to have a general sustainable mindset as we are stewards of our world for my children and their children’s future. Through our work, I try to help in any way I think can impact the three pillars of sustainable development, society, environment and economy. And there are so many SDGs we are contributing to.

But if I were to choose which SDG I feel we contribute most to would be Goal 16, promote inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. In our processes around the human-centred design of websites, we are working to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms (Target 16.10). We want to deliver the content people need as easily as possible, no matter who they are or their abilities. Sometimes this is a real challenge, but we have such a great team that we regularly see the results in long-term benefits to organisations that we hope in our small way to contribute to the SDGs.

Andrew Thornton - Executive Director, Australian Marketing Institute

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

From the Australian Marketing Institute’s (AMI) perspective, development goal 8 - to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all – aligns best to our core purpose.

Marketing is a critical business discipline that exists to drive economic growth; it stimulates the consumer economy, educating and driving demand for goods and services by targeting consumers most likely to become buyers. Higher sales for a business that employs successful marketing strategies translate into expansion, job creation, higher tax revenue for governments and, eventually, overall economic growth. In addition, the marketing industry itself creates jobs and wealth as businesses seek new and innovative ways to promote themselves and their products.

The AMI’s core purpose is to support progress in the careers of our members and advocate marketing professionalism amongst marketers and the wider business community in Australia.

The AMI helps professional marketers develop the skills and expertise required to underpin their careers which, in turn, supports the achievement of economic outputs referred to above. This includes a focus on promoting ethical behaviour and code of conduct, providing professional certification, skills development and recognition of excellence. The AMI also advocates on behalf of the marketing profession

Goal 15: Life on land

In my personal life, I try to practice alignment to goal 15. We live on a small rural holding in NSW. We try to do our bit by adopting sustainable practices where we can – such as nurturing bees, growing much of our own fruit and vegetables, recycling, water management and conserving our piece of native habitat. If we all do our little bit then we can look forward to a more sustainable existence.

Abdul Hammoud - Social & Content Senior Account Executive

Goal 13: Climate action

Climate Action (number 13) is a family effort for me. I was raised to use only what's necessary and not a fraction more. To this day, both at work and at home, I turn off lights I'm not using, I keep hot water usage to a minimum, I turn taps on to a trickle rather than a gush, I separate recyclables after others have thrown them out, I open a window instead of turning on the AC, and so much more. It’s second nature and not something I’d commend myself on. Instead, I’m looking forward to how I can make an impact on the other 16 goals within my lifetime.

compost, waste and recycle bins

Hazel Tiernan - Group Account Director

Goal 5: Gender equality

It seems a shame that in 2021 this is still a major social issue. Why should we have to empower one sex more than another? Unfortunately, we do. Women continue to be stereotyped in everyday life and nowhere more than marketing. It’s these stereotypes that have driven society norms. Professionally, I am acutely aware of how we represent women in the right way to ensure we are seen as human beings not by our historic gender story.

Personally, I am a passionate sports fan and grew up in a world where women were not expected to play ‘male’ sports like soccer or footy let alone try to play professionally. I feel I missed a big opportunity.

I am now on the committee of my Son’s junior rugby union club and have proudly developed our brand positioning ‘building brilliant humans’. Our club prides itself on nurturing the best in everyone. No matter what gender you are.

As a society, we need to see a human not a gender and our industry needs to champion this.

Rob Cleeve - Sales Director

Goal 4: Quality education

Whilst all 17 SDGs are essential to the future of our planet and its inhabitants, those that know me would probably think I would choose one of the Goals related to our natural environment, or hunger, poverty or equality. However, goal 4 (Quality Education) is arguably the most important of all because it has the power to help us achieve the other 16 goals. Change happens when people are empowered to demand it and lead it, and education is a big part of that.

Goal 4 is about inclusive access to school education, which I can’t claim to be doing much to improve. However, who a person becomes is about much more than just school education. We all learn from each other, and we never stop learning. I believe I can support Goal 4 by doing everything I can to keep learning and helping to educate those around me about the issues I care most deeply about - all of which have an SDG which relates to them.

school children in classroom

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