Across the world, companies are beginning to position their sustainability strategies with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The SDGs are being used to shape strategy and decision making, which is driving innovation and creating value. The UN Secretary General’s 2017 Sustainable Development Goal Progress Report has has highlighted this recent trend.
Even though this is a tremendous step in the right direction, more work still needs to be done in order to reach these lofty goals. One area of concern in the report is that there seems to be a lack of middle management engagement that is slowing progress. Top-level management are increasingly looking to the SDGs to inform decision-making and guide strategy which is important. Although, it seems that middle management and employees are largely disconnected from these initiatives. More collaborative efforts must be reinforced in order to meet the 2030 goals.
Currently, great progress has been on SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 15 (life on land). Public and private sectors are continuing to ramp up efforts to improve access to health care, promote healthy living programs, and developing new solutions to provide clean water for all.
Because of worsening conditions around the world, SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) still need to see major improvement. In addition to the actual advancement of policies and procedures that must be made, another large issue is that tracking progress on the SDGs requires an unprecedented amount of data and statistics at all levels. The raw information that needs to be tracked to monitor SDG progress poses a major challenge to national and international statistical systems. Efforts are being made by the global statistical community to modernize and strengthen statistical systems.