SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

Promoting sustained, inclusive, & sustainable economic growth, full & productive employment & decent work for all is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8). This goal strives to support beneficial economic growth, promote decent & inclusive work, and expand access to economic systems.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, & then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Inclusion, sustainability, and employment for all are essential to economic growth and development. Employment alone is not enough to ensure a good living. Creating jobs that are gender inclusive, provide safe working conditions, and offer fair wages is critical for developing and sustaining economic growth and eliminating poverty.

Auburn University engages with Goal 8 to a moderate degree across teaching, research, and outreach. SDG 8 is best represented by Auburn University’s teaching activities. A minimum of 10 courses related to decent work and economic growth were offered from 2016 to 2018. Auburn University’s strategic plan outlines its intention to “strengthen engagement with both the public and private sectors in the State of Alabama to provide increased workforce development and economic growth.” Auburn University also aims to “elevate research and scholarly impact to… promote economic development in Alabama and beyond.” As a land grant institution, Auburn University has a responsibility to Alabama to be a driver of economic growth and development, but this ethic of service and development extends beyond the state of Alabama and into the world on a grander scale.

View the 2021 report titled Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The Rural and Community Development minor equips students with the knowledge and skills important for administering both public-and private-sector human-relations programs that serve the residents of small towns and rural communities as well as special-needs populations, such as the elderly and disabled. Students in the minor learn how to use community-based research to resolve environmental problems, make food and agriculture more sustainable, and pursue vibrant, equitable growth in rural places. The minor is housed in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, which is the foundation of the minor’s focus on rural economic development and strengthening communities.

Woman carrying bricks on head SDG 8: Photo courtesy of Tim Umphreys
Sign that reads Think Big Shop Small; Photo courtesy of Brandon Mosely

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), housed in the Harbert College of Business, is guided by a vision of growing Alabama’s economy by empowering and assisting Alabama’s robust small business community. Nearly half of Alabama’s workforce is employed by small businesses. Starting a new business can be difficult, handling cash flow, employees, and loans. The SBDC at Auburn University serves eight counties in the area, offering personal consultation concerning many aspects of small business development to encourage Alabama residents to build new businesses. Alabama residents have the opportunity to use the Center’s expertise and advice concerning many aspects for starting a business.

The Graduate Minor in Economic Development in the College of Education is designed to address the state’s need for professional education and training in economic development. Academic economic development programs provide current and future professionals with the tools needed to lead successful community and regional economic development projects. Economic developers face a new environment characterized by an increasingly global economy and innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors. The minor features a strong academic orientation along with the opportunity to engage in practical experiences through special research projects.

Photo of Sustainability Compass Highlighting Economy

People & Stories

The Power of Partnerships to Promote Global Sustainability: The Story of One Alabama Community

| Guest Posts, SDG1, SDG17, SDG8 | No Comments
By Hollie Cost. Sixteen years ago, in a bout of insanity, as a full-time professor and mother of two young boys I willingly jumped into local politics. This was motivated by my overwhelming desire, as a self-proclaimed tree-hugger, to create a citywide recycling program in a small town in Alabama…

Racial and Economic Disparity in the Age of COVID-19 

| SDG10, SDG5, SDG8, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
By Chloe McMahon.   As all of us know, COVID-19 has left an indelible mark on every aspect of our lives. For so many, 2020 has been a year marred by loss, and for others, we have grown increasingly thankful for all we did not lose. Globally, we have mourned the…

A “Decent” Economy

| Director's Corner, SDG1, SDG12, SDG5, SDG8 | No Comments
“If you define the goal of a society as GNP , that society will do its best to produce GNP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.” ~Donella Meadows More…

The Key To An Inclusive Workplace Is Being Intentional

| Guest Posts, SDG8 | No Comments
By Mike Stover.   As I considered this month’s Sustainable Development Goal #8, “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, I felt the need to step back from my normal work at Auburn and evaluate the goal from a different perspective. This…

Sustainable Community Planning Addresses the Racist Origins of Interstate Highways

| Guest Posts, SDG11, SDG8, SDG9 | No Comments
By Rebecca Retzlaff.   For this month’s theme of sustainability goal 8: decent work and economic growth, I want to focus on transportation equity, an often-overlooked, but nonetheless essential, component of working and economic growth. A few years ago, my historic preservation planning class (CPLN 5400/6400) was working on a historic…

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