The 2024 World IP Day theme is intellectual property and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FICPI celebrated this year’s theme with a number of activities based around exploring how IP and IP firms contribute to innovative and creative solutions to help build a sustainable future.

We surveyed IP firms to ask them about their sustainability practices, and how these support the 17 UN SDGs: No poverty (SDG 1), Zero hunger (SDG 2), Good health and well-being (SDG 3), Quality education (SDG 4), Gender equality (SDG 5), Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), Reduced inequalities (SDG 10), Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), Climate action (SDG 13) , Life below water (SDG 14), Life on land (SDG 15), Peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16), and Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

28 respondents gave us their feedback, representing 18 countries and 6 continents: Australia, Brazil (2), Cambodia, Canada, China (2), Central America, Finland, France, Germany (5), India (2), Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden (2), Switzerland, Türkiye (2), USA (2).

Firms varied in size from 0-10 to over 50 attorneys: 0-10 = 10, 11-50 = 8, 50+ = 10

Initiatives to support UN SDGs

When asked whether their firm was undertaking initiatives to support any of the UN SDG goals, 16 answered yes, 11 answered no, and there was one without an answer. Of those firms who answered ‘no’, some disagreed with the ethos of the goals, others were pursuing sustainability, education and other goals without them necessarily being tied to the UN SDGs. 

The initiatives being undertaken mainly align with SDG goals: 

  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Quality education (SDG 4) 
  • Gender equality (SDG 5)
  • Reduced inequalities (SDG 10)

Also mentioned were:

  • Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) 
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)
  • Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)
  • Climate action (SDG 13)

Some are also involved in initiatives which are allied to Peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16)

We also asked whether respondents are working with individual inventors or firms on solutions to social, economic, health or environmental challenges. Some very interesting responses came back, including:  

  • Work on environmental challenges, including wellbeing of workers, and health challenges 
  • A company that works on a solution for removing metal particles from water, another that works with recycled bricks 
  • Wind airfoils for large ship fuel savings
  • UAV-based atmospheric measurements
  • Precision agriculture for less phytosanitary 
  • Developed a novel technology for making textile fibre out of wood and waste streams without dissolving and harmful chemicals

Firms stated that they work with a variety of innovative clients in areas such as:

  • Clients in the renewable energy sector, supporting their efforts to develop innovative technologies that harness clean energy sources and mitigate the impact of climate change. 
  • Partnering with healthcare companies dedicated to improving access to affordable and quality healthcare solutions, as well as with organisations focused on sustainable agriculture and food security.
  • Collaborating with companies in the water and sanitation sector, where we have assisted in protecting innovations aimed at providing access to clean water and improving sanitation infrastructure in underserved communities. 
  • Supporting clients in the technology and innovation space, helping them secure intellectual property rights for solutions that promote sustainable urban development, enhance digital connectivity in remote areas, and foster inclusive economic growth.
  • Working with organisations in the education sector, aiding them in protecting innovative educational technologies and methods that facilitate lifelong learning opportunities, promote literacy, and empower individuals to achieve their full potential, which contributes to the Goal of Quality Education. 


This article is part of FICPI's collection of content for World IP Day 2024.  


Next steps

  • We would like to thank all the firms that took part in the survey and also those who gave us quotes for our social media campaign to support the FICPI celebration of World IP Day 2024 - visit the FICPI LinkedIn page to see those firms featured.
  • If you are carrying out interesting work in the sustainability field or related to UN SDGs for your firm or with clients and would like to share your stories, do get in touch with our editor to contribute an article or blog on the subject: [email protected] 




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