Business giants spearhead new UK SDG action plan

Business giants such as Nando's, Nestle, PwC have joined forces with RSPB, WWF to launch an action plan aimed at strengthening government performance against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by driving private sector collaboration.

the UK is only performing well on 24% of SDG relevant targets

the UK is only performing well on 24% of SDG relevant targets

Convened through the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), the business giants have developed a plan that focuses on getting the right structures and processes in government, including a brief for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and driving collaboration to deliver systems change.

It is hoped that Government briefings will enable the UKSSD to update its report and measure the UK against the aims of the SDGs in order to identify areas where private sector involvement can spur progress.

The UKSSD’s Measuring Up report, released in July 2019, found that of the 143 targets considered relevant to the domestic delivery of the SDGs, the UK is only performing well on 24% of its targets. According to the UKSSD, policy gaps or inadequate performance were listed alongside 57% of the targets, while 15% had “little to no policy in place” to address them.

Emily Auckland, UKSSD Network Director, said: “2020 is a critical year, marking 10 years for the ambition of the SDGs to be realised - a future where everyone in the UK can live a good life on a healthy planet.

“Though it might feel like an unrealistic challenge, significant feats of human endeavour have happened throughout our history because people, communities, organisations and governments have worked together. This is what UKSSD hopes to achieve with the new action plan. We believe that by working together with people and organisations across society, anything is possible.”

Previously, the UK Government's attempts at addressing and implementing the SDGs have been labelled "a total fail" by MPs.

In response to the Measuring Up report, The UK published its first Voluntary National Review (VNR), exploring how the nation was performing against the SDGs. Auckland outlined what that means for businesses in this blog post.

A Nando’s spokesperson, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with UKSSD, particularly on their Food Systems Programme, to accelerate the UK’s progress on the SDGs.

“We believe that only by collaborating - with citizens, other restaurants, government, wider business and industry can we achieve the future we want.”

Food System Programme

Nestlé – sponsoring edie’s Plastics Week report and online events – and Nando’s are both part of the UKSSD’s Food System Programme, launched in December 2019.

This scheme brings together cross-sector organisations to build on the UKSSD’s report Measuring up, which highlighted UK calories from healthy foods consistently cost more than unhealthy food and 20% of 10-11-year-olds are obese; global food systems contribute up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions; and food is a major contributor to the climate emergency and biodiversity loss.

Part of the new action plan is to launch programmes for cross-sector organisations to work together to transform systems, starting with the Food System Programme in 2020. For more information on the Food Systems Programme, listen to Auckland's interview on the Sustainable Business Covered podcast Christmas special.

Other schemes have already been set-up by the UKSSD, such as a coalition of more than 400 businesses in London's Midtown partnering with the group to accelerated business contributions towards the SDGs in October. The partnership will design programmes that enable members to develop solutions that accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Matt Mace



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