Business Alignment With The SDGs: Schneider's Journey

by Gilles Vermot Desroches
Oct 20, 2020 9:20 AM ET
Blog

2020 marks the start of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs seek to end extreme poverty, address inequality, and achieve a climate secure world with sustainable cities and a circular economy by 2030.

As a global leader in business transformation, Schneider Electric is leading the private sector’s contributions to achieving the SDGs this decade. Launched by governments, businesses, and civil society actors around the world in 2015, the 17 Global Goals are broken down into 169 associated targets across short, medium- and long-term timescales. Schneider is building a collective mobilization across the company.

The process of integrating the SDGs into our business started when they were created in 2015. The SDGs form the basis of our Schneider Sustainability Impacts (SSI) framework that guides our actions to tackle climate change, end extreme poverty, improve global health outcomes, and reduce inequality around the world. We expect others to learn from and build on our experience across markets.

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the launch of the SDGs, we have decided to go even further, to use the 17 Goals as a framework to accelerate innovation in all our business segments.

Schneider’s action on the SDGs: a collaborative approach

To help ensure our SDG targets are met in time for 2030, we are accelerating our commitment to action and translating the Global Goals into metrics across our business operations. To enable this, we are creating an internal SDG ambassador network and dedicated SDG Committees for each Goal.

The Committees will bring together motivated employees and internal experts to undertake monthly assessments to support greater ambition and action towards each goal across our business. Each year, SDG ambassadors will report on progress towards the Goals to the executive committee and challenge the global strategy team to ramp up ambition with reference to short (2022); medium (2025); and long term (2030) goals for our business.

Investor capital will flow to SDG-aligned businesses this decade

The recent rise in global commitments and SDG-themed investor initiatives, such as the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, means that companies like Schneider and our global peers must be ready for new reporting expectations from providers of capital.

The first step for companies in their SDG journey is to learn more about each of the Goals, relevant targets, and KPIs to understand how the Goals relate to their business activities. The final step is to incorporate the Goals in ways that accelerate innovation and boost business resilience.

Our experience over almost two centuries shows that companies who want to survive and thrive must assess and address knowledge gaps to protect themselves against future disruption. The SDGs provide a global framework for guiding businesses through an era of unprecedented volatility and disruption.

By breaking down our internal SDG targets in line with the 2030 Roadmap Schneider is creating a clear operational plan across the company. Everyone in our companies, from the CFO to the factory worker and everyone in between will understand their role in enabling progress towards these shared Goals.

Partnerships to amplify impact & deepen resilience

We know that we are stronger when we work together as part of an ecosystem of businesses, governments, investors and civil society partners. That’s why we’ve teamed up with global initiatives that celebrate and advance the values that we believe in, including the We Mean Business Coalition; The UN Global Compact’s Business Ambition for 1.5 °C Campaign; the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition; and others.

However, we know that partnerships and commitments have limited impact without accompanying actions. So, on this fifth anniversary of the SDGs, we are mobilizing our greatest resource – our employees – and inviting them to learn more about the 17 Goals. As we grow understanding of the SDGs across our team, we will enable all our employees to take concrete actions in their personal and professional lives to support global progress.

Alongside our employees and other business partners, Schneider’s executive leadership team is committed to being SDGs ambassadors in all the countries where we operate. By taking a company-wide approach linked to clear metrics and targets, Schneider will drive innovation and implementation of best practices through our business and our client’s business, en route to achieving the SDGs in 2030.