Using SDGs to track your sustainability performance
Ethical Corporation’s latest Responsible Business Trends Report is, as ever, a valuable temperature-check of sustainable business. There are some encouraging results from the 1,542 business professionals from across the globe who were surveyed, with 69% stating that their business is integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into company strategy, an increase of 9% on the 2017 survey and a 23% increase on the 2016 report. Of the 31% that said they’re not integrating the SDGs into business strategy, 40% said they are looking to do this in the future, while 49% said they did not know when this might occur.
This is a concern in itself but also worrying is the finding that over half of respondents (56%) stated that their company isn’t measuring its contribution to the SDGs, findings which are consistent with recent reports by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and KPMG. In addition, whilst 82% of respondents noted that they are currently in the mapping stage or integrating the Goals into business strategy, only 12% claimed that the SDGs have been integrated across departments, with clear goals set.
So whilst more than half of respondents’ companies say they are using the SDGs as a framework to report on and communicate sustainability impacts, the risk lies in the fact that they may be being used by companies more as a “box-ticking” exercise, without accurate measurement of a company’s contribution towards meeting the Goals. It suggests also that companies are, for the most part, still not viewing the SDGs as the business opportunity that they represent.
Successful implementation of the SDGs requires detailed mapping and analysis, for the business to set measurable targets and continuously track progress while pursuing business opportunities that address global challenges. This Report serves to highlight that businesses need more guidance on how to integrate and report against the SDGs in order to build them into business strategy in a more holistic way – one that opens up new opportunities and improves the chances of addressing the underlying business risks that failure to achieve the SDGs represents.
For further information, read our latest insights report Business Engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If you’re looking for ways to measure and track your company’s commitment to meeting the SDGs, please get in touch.
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