SUSTAINABLE HORIZONS - How much is global business sectors contributing to sustainable development goals?


January 31, 2022 - Author: Lan Song, Xiaojiao Zhan, Huahan Zhang, Ming Xu, , Chunmiao Zheng

doi: 10.1016/j.horiz.2022.100012


While the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have explicitly called on businesses to con- tribute, little is known to what extent have the business sectors engaged with the SDGs. Here we benchmarked the engagement of the Fortune Global Top 500 corporations with the SDGs based on publicly available information screened between November 1, 2019, and February 15, 2020. The results revealed that 304 of the 500 corporations had presented relevant content on their websites. However, 32.6% of the corporations tend to match their usual business practices with relevant SDGs instead of implementing new initiatives. Only 22.8% of the corpo- rations developed specific actions or strategies for specific SDGs, and only 0.2% developed methods and tools to evaluate progress. European-headquartered corporations are leading the way to engage with the SDGs, whereas U.S.- and China-headquartered ones fall short. The SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) are the most popular SDGs among these corporations. At the same time, SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 14 (Life below Water) received the slightest interest. The level of engagement is uneven across various business sectors, with the corporations in the Information & Technology sector have largely engaged with the SDGs. In contrast, the Health Care sector has shown the slightest interest in the SDGs. Our results call for leading corporations in these sectors for continuous and enhanced efforts to help accelerate the global process towards the SDGs. Governments could provocatively encourage and regulate business sectors to engage with the SDGs and disclose uniform data to benchmark the progress towards a sustainable future.


Tags: center for systems integration and sustainability, department of fisheries and wildlife, sdgs, sustainable development goals



Jianguo "Jack" Liu

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