Best-practice guide for business action on SDGs launched by WWF and Gold Standard

Businesses have been urged to capitalise on the benefits of delivering against ambitious goals on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in a report which provides a host of best-practices for business leaders to inform their strategies going forward.

The study, co-authored by WWF Switzerland and Gold Standard – the climate standard and certification body established by WWF in 2003 – details the common challenges and pitfalls that companies face today when looking to progress the SDG agenda.

It also highlights the commercial benefits in accelerating action, such as long-term value in new markets and customer trust and loyalty. The report points towards research which claims that achieving the SDGs could create 380 million jobs and help unlock at least $12trn in opportunities for businesses by 2030.

Gold Standard chief executive Marion Verles said: “By following simple standards for best-practice target setting and then monitoring and reporting on impact delivered, business can drive the paradigm shift to a sustainable world and reap the rewards for their actions.”

The report will be updated over time as new practices emerge to help businesses avoid risks of SDG “greenwashing”. It will also be supported by case studies to bring applications of the guidelines to life.

Turning ambition into action

While the corporate world is taking notice of the SDGs, engagement strategies are still in their infancy and can be inconsistent from one company to another.

This trend was illustrated in a recent UN Global Compact study which found that, two years on from adoption, more than a third of 9,000 businesses participating in the SDGs still hadn’t set any measurable targets against achieving them, while only 55% were monitoring progress.

Some experts have claimed that a strong appetite to address the SDGs within some companies is being hindered by a lack of engagement and understanding by mid-management and the wider workforce.

Last month, sustainability and corporate responsibility managers from a range of businesses across the country gathered in London for an exclusive roundtable hosted by edie and UL EHS Sustainability, which explored the steps required to take the lead on the SDGs.

George Ogleby

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