Article_two_photo.jpgNew research indicates businesses are slow to take-up Sustainable Development Goals

New research conducted by Corporate Citizenship has revealed that despite an increase of awareness from business of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), tangible action to address the Global Goals has been slow to follow.

One year on from the launch of the goals, the research reveals a trust-deficit between the expectations of millennials - the largest generation alive today - and the realities of business action when it comes to solving the world’s most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges.

The research findings show:

  • A majority of companies surveyed are not yet taking action to address the SDGs
  • 81% of millennials said they believed that the private sector has a very important role to play in achieving the Global Goals
  • Building partnerships with government and regulators, investors, and suppliers are critical to accelerating progress on the SDGs
  • But the majority of businesses surveyed have not yet moved beyond the planning stages in relation to the SDGs.

As the largest and potentially most influential demographic -  entering into their prime spending years and set to inherit over $40 trillion in assets - millennials also want companies to take the lead in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. This presents a real challenge as the expectation of millennials is clearly for business to raise the bar, and transform the way commerce is conducted.

Mike Tuffrey, Co-Founder at Corporate Citizenship said: “We have seen lots of announcements ‘recognising’ the SDGs. A growing number of companies are mapping their strategies retrospectively to the SDGs. It’s a good start. But what we haven’t yet seen is much evidence of companies taking to heart all 17 goals and asking searching questions internally about the changes needed to respond to the challenge they present – how we innovate, who we employ, what we sell, where we raise our finance, when to work with governments and, ultimately, whether our business models are sustainable for a 2030 world.”

In order to address these questions and close the trust-deficit, more companies need to consider the Global Goals as a business opportunity to build trust with stakeholders, accelerate innovation on products and services that address societal concerns whilst building resilience for the future. 

Alice Cope, Executive Manager, Global Compact Network Australia will be presenting more about the SDGs at the upcoming LBG Annual Conference.

Alice said: “The SDGs really are a blueprint for business opportunity, representing serious challenges in need of solutions that in many cases the private sector can deliver. We have been delighted to see a number of leading Australian companies move early to embrace the SDGs and align sustainability strategies with the agenda. The next step is to drive this through the broader business community. To do this, we need to translate the Goals into local operating contexts, make links to core business opportunities, support coalition and partnership building, and encourage innovation. In that way, we will be able to unlock the full potential of the private sector’s contribution to the Goals and scale impact.” 

The full report entitled Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals: Business Action and Millennials Views’ can be downloaded here

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