The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have ushered in a new era of sustainable development objectives to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. In September 2015, the heads of state of 193 countries adopted the 17 SDGs included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs are not legally binding, but governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for their achievement. The SDGs are a follow-up of the Millennium Development Goals.
Each SDG is accompanied by a set of targets for 2030, and everyone should play their part in achieving them. We know that the SDGs cannot be achieved without business, and business cannot thrive long-term without the SDGs. Therefore, the United Nations have recently initiated the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Depending on the sector, type and scale of organisation, this will translate into different initiatives and actions. In fact, any organisation can make a clear and credible contribution to the SDGs by applying The Natural Step approach. By doing so, organisations can be sure they are helping, and in no way hindering, progress towards the UN SDGs.
Reporting on the SDG’s
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the world’s leading organisation for business reporting on the SDGs. Applying GRI reporting, or comparable frameworks of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) or the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), provides transparency, both within an organisation and across the value chain. However, reporting on the SDGs is a complex issue, not only because of changing laws and new releases of the relevant frameworks almost every year. In the EU, large companies with more than 500 employees now face mandatory disclosure of environmental and social impacts beginning with their 2018 annual report.
At The Natural Step Germany, we continuously monitor the portfolio of action-oriented tools published by the UN Global Compact, helping organisations move towards meeting concrete business and value chain targets in line with the SDGs. Two examples: 1. The UNGC database currently includes 50,000+ sustainability and social responsibility reports, produced by its 9,700+ members, plus a comprehensive library. 2. The SDG Compass is an extensive inventory of existing business tools mapped against the SDGs.
The SDG’s in Detail
17 Sustainable Development Goals
Please have a look at how the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development (UNDSD) explains the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The following texts and additional information can be found on this website.