With only ten years to deliver the sustainable development goals (SDGs), there’s a great deal of work to be done if business is to contribute meaningfully to national efforts, said PwC recently when releasing its analysis of more than 1000 published reports from listed, private and public sector organisations.
According to the company, PwC’s annual assessment of public reporting on the SDGs assesses the level of integration of the goals into leadership, business strategy and reporting, as an indicator of business’ vital contribution to achieving Government’s stated commitments within the next ten years.
- Nearly three quarters (72%) of organisations analysed reference the goals in their public reporting, just over half in their annual report.
- Only 1% of the overall sample report quantitative measures to show their progress towards those targets.
Despite good overall awareness, progress on the SDGs could be undermined by a lack of specifics on targets, measurement, and wider business integration, said PwC.
Reporting progress towards the targets needed to achieve the ambitions is very immature, despite the goals offering a common language and framework to build a more transparent view of the issues, progress and scale of change needed, Louise Scott, global lead on Sustainable Development Goals, PwC pointed out.
Just 1% of companies analysed measure their performance against specific SDG targets.
Of the companies analysed, PwC found the followings.
- One in five leaders referenced the SDGs in their outlook for the year - demonstrating the goals are moving into the boardroom agenda.
- Of those companies referencing SDGs, 59% referenced them as part of their sustainability report while just over half (51%) mentioned them in their annual report.
- 14% mention specific SDG targets: of those, 39% identify qualitative ambitions, and 20% quantitative ambitions.
- Just 34% of those that mentioned the SDGs (25% of all companies analysed), did so in sections of their reporting that discussed business strategy.
- The majority of companies identify with the goal of Decent Work & Economic Growth as their focus, but goals related to natural resources or wellbeing, critical to sustaining business feature less prominently.