Are Sustainable Development Goals Integrated into your Strategy, Planning, and Reporting?

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Nearly three quarter of organizations (72%) mention the global Sustainable Development Goals in their annual corporate or sustainability reports, up 10% from last year, said PwC when recently unveiling result of its latest study on whether companies have integrated those goals into business strategy, planning, and reporting.

However, concrete measures and integration remain elusive for many as organizations struggle to identify actions beyond business as usual targets, PwC pointed out.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, encompassing 17 goals and associated targets and indicators for success, the firm said, adding that SDGs provide a roadmap to help organizations navigate the major environmental, social and economic challenges.

Major findings

Some of the major findings of the study based on a survey of 729 listed firms in 21 countries and six sectors include:

  • the majority (60%) in their sustainability reports rather than in main financial or integrated reports
  • 50% of companies have identified priority SDGs
  • only 28% disclose meaningful KPIs related to SDGs
  • 27% of the total companies mention SDGs as part of their business strategy
  • only 19% of CEO or Chair statements in annual reports mention the SDGs

According to PwC, the average score for reporting quality of those companies that had prioritized SDGs was 2.71 out of 5.

The broad sectors of technology, media & telecoms and energy, utilities & mining lead other industries examined on mentioning the SDGs in their reporting, PwC observed.

“Progress on broad awareness and integration is a positive step for the SDGs, but it’s only a small step, said Louise Scott, Global Sustainable Development Goals Lead, PwC.” For every one of the 17 goals, there are pressing real world issues that directly impact the world of business. While there is a clear appetite for embracing the SDGs, many organizations still lack the strategy, tools and culture needed to transform those commitments into tangible business actions.”

There is no change in the most popular choices of the type of SDGs as priority goals by organizations this year. According to PwC, the most popular priority goals are:

  • decent work and economic growth (SDG8) by 79% of respondents
  • climate action (SDG13) by 67% of respondents
  • responsible consumption and production (SDG12) by 66% of respondents