In 2015 all United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the heart of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 subtargets. The SDGs aim to end poverty in all forms, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, ensuring no one is left behind. The private sector will play an important role in realising the Goals.

According to Rob van Tulder, Professor of International Business-Society Management, we are moving too slow towards reaching the SDGs. The adoption is not the main problem. It is how the SDGs are implemented. Companies generally focus on their present activities and reactively link them to those SDGs that help them limit waste and other negative effects on society. The SDGs, however, also aim at a more transformational agenda that requires companies to proactively look at what they can do in the future to scale and speed up positive impact. The implementation poses a core problem. Companies do want to implement the SDGs, they just have not figured out how yet. For instance, we know that companies need to adopt the SDGs as a core strategy, but most companies still locate their SDG strategy in the CSR or Philanthropy departments. Moreover, a proactive strategy requires partnering with non-market parties. Challenging, but vital for progress. We cannot wait too long anymore. Companies have to move away from this exploratory phase. Luckily, there are frontrunner firms which lead by example and show how to strategize the SDGs, make them core business and create smart partnerships. 

Watch the full interview here.

The SDGs provide a common language to work on Sustainable Development. Companies use them as a framework for their (sustainability) strategies. However many of them still struggle with operationalising their contribution to the SDGs in some way. 

Our approach

Societal and business impact often come together. Ending poverty will open market opportunities. But at the same time, increasing demand puts more pressure on natural resources and climate.

We help you look at the SDGs in an integrated way. Based on our experience we created a 5 step approach. 

Our final aim is to integrate the SDGs in the regular cycle of strategic planning and control in an effective and efficient way. This will improve both internal decision making and external reporting.

Wesley Schulte

About the author

Wesley brings great IR expertise to the table, having co-authored the IIRC CFO and CIO paper. A strong passion for innovation and customer relations, he’s your man to make your project work. Just reach out to him:

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