Does business know what SDGs it should be focusing on?

That's the question posed by a new piece of research from PwC. The SDG Reporting Challenge: Exploring Business Communication on the Global Goals studied corporate and sustainability reports of 470 companies around the world to investigate how they were reflecting the SDGs. What the research found was sobering for all involved in meeting the goals. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of companies mentioned the SDGs in their reporting yet only 37% of the companies have prioritised individual goals.

As Louise Scott, lead author of the report, wrote in a LinkedIn post: "In many cases it’s clear that companies have taken the straightforward approaches of either “rebadging” existing programmes or prioritising goals that have obvious alignment to existing business strategy. It’s also clear that existing reporting structures are driving whether organisations are measuring success in some areas."

Part of the problem is that prioritising the goals isn’t straightforward despite the supposed easy-to-understand SDG framework. Companies need to understand particular issues at a country or local level, and they need a robust analysis of business operations, sourcing and supply chain. Prioritising also requires a long-term sustainable business strategy and planning that involves an understanding of the risks they face if underlying SDG issues are not solved, as well as available opportunities from adapting products and services towards innovations and solutions. That comprehensive approach is something that most companies are only just starting to employ.




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