Saturday, September 21, kicked off the 2019 Global Goals Week, which brings together governments, businesses, international organizations and others during the UN General Assembly to help accelerate action around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They offer a road map, framework and common language for businesses, investors and stakeholders to discuss their sustainability activities and communicate achievements in advancing the Goals.
Last year, Alliance Data selected three SDGs that link to our sustainability strategy and where we believe we can make the greatest impact: Quality Education, Gender Equality and Decent Work and Economic Growth. Here are highlights of our accomplishments in the past year:
Quality Education – seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Underprivileged girls need help getting the education required to join and thrive in the workforce.
In Bangalore, India, we are running a program to increase learning opportunities for these young women. We commit to sponsoring a girl’s schooling for five years each time a woman is hired through our employee referral program. When the program was launched, we set a goal of sponsoring 50 girls in five years. In less than two years, the number has already exceeded 70.
Gender Equality – works to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Diversity, equality and inclusion is not an à la carte program. You either decide to make it a priority or you don’t. We’ve made it integral to our business. Alliance Data was recently named one of the 2019 Best Workplaces for Women by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. This distinction reflects our strong culture of promoting and supporting women not only within our own organization, but also as we engage across other stakeholder groups and in the community. Alliance Data invested more than $500,000 last year in programs and organizations that support the advancement of women and girls in their communities. One such program is Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX), which received a transformational gift to develop and launch the ROX Research and Training Institute —the first multidisciplinary institute designed to address the complex needs of today’s girls.
Decent Work and Economic Growth – promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full productive employment and decent work for all.
Hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) isn’t just the right thing to do. There’s a job to be done and they do it; and when employees see everyone being treated fairly and that they truly work in inclusive organization, the uplift in morale is a win-win. For nearly two decades, Alliance Data has supported organizations like My Possibilities, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit designed to provide adults with IDD the opportunity to continue their education. In 2018, Alliance Data employed four My Possibilities clients who collectively had more than 30 years’ combined work experience with the company. My Possibilities merged with LaunchAbility in 2018, another local nonprofit that focuses on disability hiring. The result is a more powerful, integrated organization offering vocational training and job placement assistance through LaunchAbility Career Services.
We’re proud to have answered the call, and of the progress we’ve made with our SDGs. There is more work to be done, and we look forward to collaborating with community organizations in the coming years to ensure the Global Goals have local impact.
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