How BTS promotes the United Nations Sustainability Goals

Senior comp explores how BTS songs allude to UN SDGs

Is BTS promoting sustainability through their music? One senior sought to answer just that.
Payton Mineweaser, ’22, is doing her senior research project on whether BTS is promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a K-Pop group, best known for their hit songs “Dynamite” and “Butter.”
The band, also known for their style and signature synchronized dancing, is composed of seven members, including frontman RM, Jungkook, V, Suga, Jin, Jimin, and J-Hope.
In the summer of 2013, the band released their first song, “No More Dream.” Other BTS songs include Fire, FAKE LOVE and IDOL.
Not only is the band popular for their music, but they are also known for their activism.
According to the Evening Standard, “the Army” — BTS’ fanbase — helped raise approximately $1 million in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, an amount that matched a donation made by the band and Big Hit Entertainment, their management company.
Today explained that the musical group was invited by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to a General Assembly meeting at its Sustainable Development Goals Moment.
At this meeting, they addressed their concern for climate change, as well as COVID-19, and stated that all of them were vaccinated against the virus.
One member, Suga, admitted that he did not really consider the group as “political,” and explained, “We aren’t trying to send out some grandiose message,” according to the Evening Standing.
Despite their statement, Mineweaser attempted to see if the group’s music had any allusions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, a high-level forum for joint policy formation and decision-making.
One of the acts created by the UNSDG is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is a plan of action that will help to make reduce inequality across the world and help to sustain the environment, as a way of reducing the risk of further climate change.
In 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted this agenda, in the hopes that they would be able to create a blueprint for the peace and prosperity for not only the people, but the planet as well.
In order to achieve peace and prosperity, the members agreed that there were 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which would be addressed.
These 17 SDGs are meant to include thematic issues such as water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, the Global Sustainable Development Report, partnerships and Small Island Developing States.
The GSDR plays an important role in the advocacy and outreach activities related to the SDGs.
BTS has publicly expressed their concern for the future of Earth, and encouraged their fan base to work towards reaching these sustainability goals.
According to CBS News, the members of this group were selected to capture the attention of today’s youth, and urge them to aid in the addressing of the challenges that are affecting society.
“Overall, BTS’s music can be influential and help stimulate curiosity about environmental action through subliminal messages in their lyrics,” Mineweaser said. “This can also show how the potential of musical artists now and into the future can continue to provide a way for their audience to think more in depth about environmentalism, climate change and social change all over the world.”
These songs specifically addressed key issues found in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to Mineweaser.
“The main findings of my project included the most mentioned SDGs overall being goal one — No Poverty — goal eight (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and goal 10 (Reducing Inequality),” Mineweaser said. “The SDGs that were not mentioned were goal nine (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), and goal 17 (Partnership and Goals). The last goal being, debatably, the most important goal they should have referenced, because without this goal, the ability to achieve all other goals would be next to impossible. It is most important to see which goals were mentioned the most and the least because it give an idea about what the group’s intentions are throughout their discography.”