Sustainable Development Goals: Are Corporates Stepping up to the Responsibility?

Corporate Citizenship release new research showing company action is stalling two years into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Nov 30, 2017 8:25 AM ET

November 30, 2017 /3BL Media/ - Since 2015, Corporate Citizenship has been sharing insights on the SDGs and their implications for business. Now in its third year, our annual practitioner study shows some alarming trends in how action on the Global Goals is evolving.

Headline findings:

  • Corporate commitment appears to be slowing. Whilst awareness of the SDGs has risen, tangible plans and active involvement in collaborations on the Global Goals has slowed in the last 12 months.
    • The number of organisations saying that they are “aware of the SDGs, but have no plans to do anything about them” has risen from 13% in 2016 to 20% in 2017. This is close to being back to the 25% recorded before the Goals were launched.
    • The proportion saying that they are “actively involved in a collaboration related to the SDGs” has fallen from 40% in 2016 to 33% in 2017.
    • Numbers saying that in future years they will use the SDGs to “review or set new targets” and “inform strategy development” has also fallen.
    • However, the future looks brighter for impact monitoring and measurement with over 56% indicating plans for the future, up from 35% when the Goals launched.
  • Goal priorities have shifted in line with the political climate, with a focus on Gender equality (Goal 5) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) leading in prominence for 2017. Quality Education (Goal 4) is considered the top priority Goal in 2017 (up from fourth place in 2016), whilst Climate action (Goal 13) did not feature in the top 3 as it did in 2016. This appears to reflect the high profile given to the Paris Agreement in 2016.
  • Corporate support for the Global Goals varies significantly around the world. Detailed regional analysis shows that UK businesses lead on the SDGs with more than two-thirds in the FTSE100 integrating SDGs in some form through their corporate communications. This compares with 38% of the largest American companies and 20% in Singapore.

Nana Guar, Senior Consultant at Corporate Citizenship and the report author, said:

“Two years on from the launch of the Goals, there are signs that corporate progress may be slowing. We’ve seen lots of welcoming announcements and reporting aligned to the SDGs. But the real challenge comes in application. The critical success factor is for businesses to now translate intent into action.”

Companies were assessed using Corporate Citizenship’s proprietary TAME framework: Think; Act; Measure; Engage. This was first developed in our 2015 survey as a means to assess corporate action of the Global Goals. With respondents spanning 42 countries for the 2017 survey, particular focus was paid to sampling the world’s largest companies in the United Kingdom, United States and Singapore, listed on the FTSE100, Fortune 50 and Singapore Exchange.

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For more information on this release, please contact Cecilia Law, Global Marketing Manager: / +44 (0)20 7861 1616

Notes to editors:

About Corporate Citizenship
Corporate Citizenship is a global management consultancy, specialising in sustainability and corporate responsibility. With offices in London, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, Santiago and Singapore we work with corporate clients around world, to achieve their commitments to responsible and sustainable business practices.  For more information, please visit us at:

Corporate Citizenship has been publishing resources on the Global Goals since July 2015. Resources are available at:

A copy of the report is freely available on our website.