In 2015, the 193 United Nations (UN) Member States adopted 17 global Sustainable Development Goals1 (SDGs). The SDGs cover a broad set of challenges such as economic inclusion, diminishing natural resources, geopolitical instability, environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change. They define the agenda for inclusive economic growth through to 2030 and were developed with inputs from business, academia and nonprofit organisations globally.
The SDGs provide a universal and visionary framework to address the challenges of global cooperation and action, bringing stakeholders together to proactively address these challenges. But they are also complex and interconnected, and could be daunting for companies trying to understand the potential impacts, dependencies and opportunities when considering the SDGs.
Business will play a critical role in achieving the SDGs. Many companies have been working to address environmental, social and economic issues and leading companies have begun to recognize that they may best address the complex sustainability challenges by scaling up their efforts through collaboration with peers, industry and sector organizations, customers, governments, nonprofit organizations and society.
Businesses can support the SDGs through contributions to economic growth and employment, and as a source of finance, technology and innovation. Based on our engagements with clients globally, we believe there is a strong business case for companies to commit, engage, invest, innovate, collaborate and communicate their efforts related to SDGs in four key areas:
• Driving growth: by creating shared value, companies can help to secure their ability to
generate capital and shareholder value over the long-term
• Addressing risk: by linking strategic priorities to the SDGs, companies send a message
to investors about their capabilities to manage environmental, social and governance
• Attracting capital: by aligning their business models to SDGs, companies may benefit
from new sources of capital such as green bonds
• Focusing purpose: by defining and activating a company’s aspirational purpose as a
foundation for its strategy, it may help increase stakeholder value over the long term