UN Sustainability Goals Dominate Attention in Business, Survey FindsUN Sustainability Goals Dominate Attention in Business, Survey Finds
Second in a series of findings from a survey of businesses globally, conducted by sister research firm Omdia.
May 24, 2023
While there are various metrics and frameworks for measuring and tracking sustainability, those adopted by the United Nations lead the group in terms of awareness, according to a new survey.
The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are the primary framework by which businesses globally identify and target effective sustainable strategies, based on a worldwide survey of 200 businesses conducted by sister research firm Omdia.
However, awareness does not necessarily translate to adoption. While 71% of businesses are aware of the U.N. SDGs, 34% are using them while 37% are not, according to the survey.
The SDGs were adopted in 2015 and include 17 mission statements based on the principle of “leaving no one behind.” Many are related to humanitarian goals, such as no poverty, equal education and gender equality, although they also include affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production and the creation of sustainable cities.Awareness and adoption of the U.N. SDGs were consistent across company sizes in the survey. Other frameworks businesses are aware of include the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, Carbon Disclosure Project and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.Business imperativeSustainability is becoming something of an imperative for businesses, although it can be challenging to measure sustainable actions. For example, at the recent IBM Think conference in Orlando, speakers said sustainability is now a strong narrative coming from companies, although there remains a need for them to tangibly prove their adherence to sustainable guidelines. “Companies have communicated sustainability goals,” said Kendra DeKeyrel, ESG and asset management product leader at IBM. “They put it out there, they communicate, and they want to achieve a certain goal. But the hard part comes when you actually take the steps to operationalize your business to meet those sustainability goals."
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