Walking the talk

Assessing companies' progress from SDG rhetoric to action

Publication date: 23 September 2018
Author: Ruth Mhlanga, Uwe Gneiting, Namit Agarwal

Three years after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reliable information on how companies are working to contribute to the SDGs remains sparse. This paper uses five general themes (prioritization; integration; ambition; human rights and gender equality; and reporting) to review the SDG engagement of 76 of the world’s largest companies.

It finds that while uptake of the SDGs by companies is high, there is little evidence of the SDGs changing companies’ sustainability strategies with regards to priorities, ambition or transparency. The paper points to good practice for how business can more effectively engage with the SDGs.