FOUR in five companies have now included a commitment in their respective sustainability reports, but less than half of them set measurable targets on how their actions can fulfill the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), according to a study conducted by the Global Reporting Initiative and Support the Goals.
A study titled, “State of Progress: Business Contributions to the SDGs” was conducted by the groups, analyzing the answers of some 200 companies surveyed from around the world.
The study said 83 percent of the companies affirm support for the SDGs, recognizing the value of aligning their reports with the goals, while 69 percent of companies articulate which goals are most relevant to their business.
The study, however, showed that only 40 percent of the companies set measurable commitments for how they will help achieve the SDGs, while 20 percent include evidence to assess their positive impacts.
“This study confirms the crucial role of sustainability reporting in enabling companies to explore how their actions impact on the 2030 Agenda, while providing the transparency needed for governments and the international community to measure progress on the SDGs. It is encouraging, therefore, that we are seeing most GRI reporting companies commit to alignment with the SDGs,” Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI chief external affairs officer, said.
The research, meanwhile, gave some of its recommendations on how companies can improve their communications and performance, which includes providing targets on how they support the SDGs, particularly for those that connect most closely to the companies activities, products or business relationships.
It also advised the firms to deepen their reporting on its positive contributions to the SDGs, while also responding to stakeholder demands for transparency on negative impacts and to collaborate on SDG reporting, sharing practices both up and down the value chain.
The groups said the next step is to ramp up the role of the private sector in contributing to solutions for fulfilling the SDGs, which requires more in-depth and quantifiable disclosure, which links SDG performance with business strategy.
“If we’re to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, every business needs to understand how they can contribute to them. It’s wonderful to see that the majority of businesses in our research are showing their support for the goals. We now urgently need to see an increase in the number of businesses setting measurable targets that contribute to the SDGs, reporting on their progress and crucially helping their suppliers understand how they can get involved,” Colin Curtis, founder and director of Support the Goals, said.