In the Sustainable Business Outlook conducted by Allies and Centigo in 2017/2018, we wanted to find out how business and operational models have been adapted to meet global sustainability challenges according to international guidelines for sustainable businesses. In the first study of its kind the outlook also examined how Swedish companies and organizations were using Agenda 2030, and which the most and least popular goals were.
A $12,000,000,000,000 opportunity for the private sector
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has estimated that the business opportunities associated with working with Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are valued at over $12 trillion. These opportunities can be found in four main economic areas:
- Food and agriculture
- Energy and materials
- Health and well-being
These four economic areas represent as much as 60 % of the real economy and they are vital to achieving the United Nations’ SDGs.
64 % in Sweden using Agenda 2030
A majority of Swedish companies and organizations use Agenda 2030 to integrate sustainability into their business, in total 64% according to the Sustainable Business Outlook. State-owned companies and listed companies lead the way, and have to a greater extent used Agenda 2030 than other sectors in society, with 78% of state-owned companies and 76% of listed companies stating that they have used the SDGs to integrate sustainability into their business. Falling behind in the sector-wise comparison are the municipal companies, where only 40% stated that they were using the SDGs.
The 3 goals where Swedish companies and organizations contribute the most
The three most commonly used goals according to the outlook was, in falling order:
- Goal 13: Climate Action
- Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
These goals have almost 40 % each of the respondents in the outlook saying that they have used this goal as a part of their efforts to integrate sustainability into their business or organization. In light of the latest IPCC report on the 1,5 degree target it is certainly encouraging that companies and organizations are engaging with Climate Action.
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No space for poverty and hunger?
Looking at the bottom of the list of popular goals to use we find the three least frequently used goals, starting at the bottom:
No Poverty and Zero Hunger both garner less than 10 % support each, and it is interesting to consider what the possible reasons for this might be. Do Swedish companies and organizations not have an impact on these issues, or do they simply not see them as material issues in their sustainability efforts? It is surprising that Swedish companies and organizations don’t consider Goal 14: Life Below Water more important, since the Baltic Sea is one of the world’s most polluted oceans, and caring for it is so important for Sweden’s ability to meet the goals of Agenda 2030.
How far have companies and organizations come with integrating sustainability?
In the Sustainable Business Outlook more than 100 of Sweden’s largest companies and organizations participated. We wanted to find out how business and operational models have been adapted to meet global sustainability challenges according to international guidelines for sustainable businesses. Instead of dividing the participants by industry we have looked at them through a different perspective, namely analyzing them based on their ownership structure.
The study consists of the result from a self-assessment study. The following main areas of an organization’s sustainability efforts were included:
- Sustainability leadership
- Business approach to sustainability
- Main-stream integration of sustainability issues
How does your organization compare?
Are you interested in how your organization compares to the participants in the Sustainable Business Outlook in terms of human rights, diversity and five other sustainability perspectives? Take our survey and we will get back to you with the result!
The Sustainable Business Outlook
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The Sustainable Business Outlook was conducted in 2017/2018 by Allies and Centigo in cooperation with our partners Sustainable Innovation, RISE, Global Utmaning and Förebildsföretaget. Daniel Steinholtz (firstname.lastname@example.org) was the responsible partner and Erik Wottrich (email@example.com) the project manager.