UN report shows how businesses benefit from engagement with SDGs

May 17th, 2024

Businesses incorporating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their operations will see significant benefits, according to a new report. 

The UN’s SDG Showcase report showed that the companies working to engage with the SDGs experienced new business opportunities through market differentiation, expansion and growth.  

Businesses incorporating the SDGs also experienced increased attractivity for employees, customers and investors, better employee retention, supply chain resilience and reduced costs through resource and operational efficiency. 

They can also stay ahead of the rapidly evolving ESG regulations by aligning themselves with the SDGs ahead of time, the report said. 

It also offered guidance for businesses to assess their material impacts and therefore avoid misleading consumers and shareholders about their activities. 

As not all 17 of the goals will be as applicable to a business’ operations than others, the report recommended that companies should begin by mapping how their business operations impact each goal individually to assess which to focus on. 

The report also included good practice examples of the private sector working to engage with the SDGs, including Unilever’s ten-year implementation roadmap, which commits the company to paying a living wage to everyone who directly provides a good or service to the company by 2030. 

The 17 SDGs were established in September 2015 as part of Agenda 2030, a globally agreed plan of action to reduce the impacts of climate change on people and the planet. 

The UN’s Sustainable Development Report 2023 found that the world is not currently on track to achieve any of the goals by 2030, emphasising the importance of private sector engagement with the goals. 

António Guterres, UN secretary-general, speaking at SDG Action Weekend 2023, said: “To the members of the business community here today – I urge you to see that sustainable development is in fact the best business plan of all.” 

Last Updated: 17 May 2024