In September 2015, all 193 member states of the United Nations agreed to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs lay out a path to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality and injustice and protect our plant by 2030.
The global challenges presented in the goals range from climate, water, food crises, health, poverty, conflict and inequality. All these challenges need solutions that the private sector can deliver; representing a large and growing market for innovation. For participants of the UN Global Compact, our Ten Principles provide the framework to act responsibly, while the SDGs allow businesses to find opportunities for societal contribution.
A recent study carried out by RMIT University and supported by the Global Compact Network Australia found that just 37% of ASX 150 companies mention the SDGs in their annual/sustainability reports and whilst the vast majority of those companies had aligned targets at the goal levels, only 3% of the companies had aligned their business targets with SDG targets and indicators.
Measuring and reporting private sector contributions, the SDGs is an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate to investors, competitors and customers how and why the SDGs are fundamentally shaping the way they do business responsibly and sustainably. Businesses are increasingly expected to transparently report how they are managing and mitigating sustainability matters, and the SDGs provide a powerful universal framework through which to do this.
The Global Compact Network Australia convenes annual in-person events and webinars dedicated to reporting on the SDGs and measuring impact. Register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.