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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 are shared in our latest Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report. They are shared below to illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

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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 lesser degree than other SDGs across teaching, outreach, and research. SDG 8 is best represented by Auburn University’s teaching and research activities. A minimum of 14 courses and 14 research developments related to decent work and economic growth represented Goal 8 from 2019 to 2021. 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 development. This ethic of service and development extends beyond the state of Alabama and into the world on a grander scale.

View our most recent Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report  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
Lowder Hall

The Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship (LCFBE) is an outreach program designed to augment the success of local family businesses. By addressing the needs and unique experiences of small business owners, the LCFBE fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and the overall well-being of its participants. Programs include leadership development and sustainable management planning, as well as business resiliency when adapting to economic and organizational stimuli. The LCFB’s training and education program provides guest lecturers from successful family businesses and various site visits. The LCFBE also connects students to the Auburn Entrepreneurship Program, relevant mentors and advisors, and networking events regarding small businesses.

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.

Sign that reads Think Big Shop Small; Photo courtesy of Brandon Mosely

Dr. Duha Altindag of the College of Liberal Arts is an Associate Professor of Economics studying the economic analysis of crime, health knowledge, happiness, and the consequences of joblessness. Dr. Altindag studies how such areas coincide with health and labor economics. Dr. Altindag also explores applied econometrics, law and economics, and consequently, results on overall well-being. Studies include the links between education and re-employment, along with the modern effects of COVID-19 on productivity at universities, especially at Auburn University.

Child with a medical mask on
Image reads "Corporate Sustainability Leadership" and "Peter A. Stanwick and Sarah D. Stanwick"

Drs. Sarah Stanwick and Peter Stanwick are Associate Professors in the Harbert College of Business with research efforts in environmental accounting, ethical issues for managers and accountants, and social responsibility issues. Dr. Sarah Stanwick teaches classes for the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project, and is a key developer for the Tiger$ense financial literacy fair. Her work has been included in various publications, such as the Journal of Business Ethics, the CPA Journal, and Business Strategy and the Environment. In 2020, both professors authored a textbook on Corporate Sustainability Leadership, depicting the ethical intersections of stakeholder and business relations.

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

Public Engagement Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG1, SDG11, SDG12, SDG16, SDG17, SDG4, SDG8, STARS | No Comments
By Randy Martin & Bella Wright It is no secret that the city of Auburn revolves around the university. If you’ve ever been to a football game, you know that the entire town comes to a standstill as the Tigers battle it out on the field. Whether you attend the…

Finance Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG16, SDG8, STARS | No Comments
By Randy Martin The role of a university endowment is to invest donated money and gifts and use the returns to fund school operations. The role of those charged with this task must utilize their abilities and all the tools available to them to make sure the university gets a…

Campus Changemaker: Blake Butcher

| SDG11, SDG3, SDG8, SDG9, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
By Bella Wright “Find where there’s a need, and go meet that need” ~ EL Spencer  This philosophy is what led Blake Butcher to where he is today: Auburn University. Blake began his work in the Auburn community as a personal trainer. Over the span of fifteen years, Blake and his wife…

Employee Wellness Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG1, SDG3, SDG8, STARS | No Comments
Human behavior is influenced by the environment in which it resides. The average worker spends the most amount of time every day at work. That accumulates to 90,000 hours in the workplace over the course of their life. Therefore, the workplace environment is a significant factor in the lifetime well-being…


| SDG1, SDG10, SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, STARS, Updates | No Comments
by Randy Martin, Office of Sustainability As I begin, I feel as though most are familiar with the moral cases for diversity, so I want to draw attention to this tweet from Adam Grant, a leader in Organizational Psychology and award-winning author. As he states, a recent paper titled Gender-diverse…

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