Research & Reports

Business Engaging SDGs, UN Report Finds

Stockholm (NordSIP) – The UN Global Compact has released its 2017 “Business Solutions to Sustainable Development” Progress Report, which evaluates the contributions of business participants to the Compact and advances in finance towards the Global SDGs, to coincide with the UN General Assembly and the UN Private Sector Forum held this week in New York. The report assesses progress in terms of how companies are taking action on the Ten Principles of Responsible Business and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting focus areas where further business engagement is needed, and featuring interviews with ‘disruptive’ business leaders.

The report finds that “significant progress” has been made in the critical areas of developing more sophisticated approaches to integrating sustainability into core business strategies, and the incorporation of sustainability at higher levels than ever. Support is growing across the business world for policies related to human rights and anti-corruption, with over 90% of Compact signatories having policies in place on all Ten Principles of responsible business. 75% of companies have actions in place to address the SDGs, SDG Goal 8: Good Jobs and Economic Growth, SDG Goal 3: Good Health and Well Being, and SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality being those receiving the most commitment from participants.

CEOs and other upper-level managers are also becoming increasingly engaged, with sustainable development strategies monitored at CEO level in 69% of businesses and increasing implementation at the core business level. Reporting is also improving, with 70% reporting their activities publicly, and supply chain sustainability is the area that has grown the most dramatically, doubling over the past decade to 64%.

Nevertheless, challenges remain, with 57% of larger companies citing driving sustainability right through supply chains as the main sustainability challenge, and SMEs lacking know-how in delivering support. There is also still a marked gap between policies and action, with “a significantly lower number of companies setting targets, conducting impact assessments or monitoring performance.” This is especially felt in the areas of SDG Goal 16: Peace and Justice, Goal 2: Zero Hunger, and Goal 15: Life on Land. Climate Action and Clean Energy rank towards the middle of the list.

Read the full report here.

Image: (c) Triff – shutterstock

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