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Global Compact Network UK Unveils Tool for Businesses to Assess SDG Impacts | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD


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The UN Global Compact Network UK has published a tool for businesses to assess material impacts of their operations on the SDGs. The resource provides examples of good practice of companies in the UK “working with a clear plan to advance the SDGs for the future we all want.”

The report titled, ‘SDG Showcase: How Companies Are Contributing to Achieving Agenda 2030,’ explains why the Goals are material to businesses, breaking it down to the SDG target level. Examples of good practice draw from multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as from various sectors and industries. The report highlights how the private sector “can accelerate action to create a world we like to live and do business in by taking a leadership role through SDG-aligned policy advocacy.”

The report acknowledges that not all SDGs will be as relevant to business operations as others. To avoid misleading consumers and shareholders, it recommends that businesses start engaging with the Goals by conducting materiality assessments by mapping their operations’ impacts on the SDGs across their value chain and identifying impact opportunities. Impact areas, according to the report, can include raw materials, suppliers, inbound logistics, company operations, distribution, product use, and product end-of-use. Companies should then reflect on which Goals are impacted by their operations in each area, align operations, and develop solutions to support these SDGs.

The report underscores that by enabling companies to identify high-impact areas, materiality assessments help “prioritize resources accordingly.” It highlights the double materiality approach to conducting materiality assessments, outlined in the European Commission’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), whereby companies are required “to include financial and impact materiality considerations in their assessments.” “As the SDGs are strongly embedded in CSRD standards, it will prove advantageous for companies to map their SDG impacts across the value chain,” the report notes.

Having mapped SDG impacts, businesses “can begin to explore opportunities to advance and benefit from the Goals.” The report calls attention to the SDG Action Manager – a tool that provides guidance on how to start mapping the SDGs, setting targets, tracking improvement, and determining high-impact actions.

The UN Global Compact Network UK is part of the UN Global Compact – a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, calling on businesses worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles that span the areas of:

  • Human rights: 1) Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and 2) make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses;
  • Labor: 3) Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, 4) the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor, 5) the effective abolition of child labor, and 6) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation;
  • Environment: 7) Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, 8) undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility, and 9) encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies; and
  • Anti-corruption: 10) Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

The SDG Showcase was released in April 2024. [Publication: SDG Showcase: How Companies Are Contributing to Achieving Agenda 2030] [Publication Landing Page]

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