Stakeholders Call for More Action as Businesses Slow to Take up Global Goals

Sep 27, 2016 12:30 PM ET

New research by Corporate Citizenship, a global sustainability consultancy, reveals that although business awareness of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals has increased in the past year, tangible action to address the Goals has been slow to follow. One year on from their launch, 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 shows:

·         A majority of companies surveyed are not yet taking action to address the Sustainable Development Goals

·         81% of millennials said they believe 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

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 told us that they want companies to take the lead in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. This presents a real challenge: the expectation of Millennials is for business to raise the bar, and transform the way commerce is conducted. But the majority of businesses surveyed by Corporate Citizenship have not yet moved beyond the planning stages in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mike Tuffrey, Co-founder at Corporate Citizenship commented: “We have seen lots of announcements ‘recognising’ the Goals. A growing number of companies are mapping their strategies retrospectively to the Goals. 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, we need more companies 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. 

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