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Driving business engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals

Setting the scene

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals which were agreed by all 193 United Nations member states in September 2015. They set an ambitious agenda that seeks to solve the world’s most pressing environmental, social and economic problems over the next 15 years and are the closest thing the world has to a strategy.

Business will play a critical role in the achievement of the goals, and there are tremendous opportunities for companies that engage - opening up new opportunities and efficiency gains, driving innovation and enhancing reputations. The goals are paving the way for a fundamental shift in how we do business.

PwC’s purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems and the SDGs provide the perfect framework for this.  

“Over the next 13 years, trillions of dollars of public and private funds will need to be directed towards achieving the SDGs. There are huge opportunities for businesses to help deliver solutions, as well as big risks for companies seen to be hindering progress on the goals.”

Louise Scott, Director, Global Sustainability, PwC

How we helped

Recognising the challenge that few businesses felt they have the tools needed to engage with the goals, we created the Global Goals Business Navigator, a diagnostic tool which provides a quick and simple way to highlight the goals that are more relevant to a business. This takes into consideration variables like countries and sector of operation, based on detailed research into every country’s current performance (working with UN data and statistics) and using methodologies underpinning our impact measurement work and expert economic studies. We’ve been using the Navigator to help our clients understand where they can have the most impact upon the goals.

PwC is also playing an instrumental role in shaping SDG reporting by supporting the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the GRI to create an analysis and a practical guide to help companies report on the SDGs in a comparable and effective way. Presented to the High Level Political Forum of the UN in July 2017, the final analysis will be launched at the UNGC Leaders Summit in New York in September 2017.

Additionally, we contribute to the debate and play an advocacy role on a number of issues covered by the goals. We were one of 80 companies to write an open letter to the UK government in January 2017, calling for prioritisation of the SDGs in the UK and setting out our commitment to help deliver them.

And our people are actively involved - Global Sustainability Director Louise Scott is a member of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development’s Steering Committee and our UK Sustainability Partner Geoff Lane gave evidence at the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee - SDGs in the UK.

“When 193 governments came together to agree and achieve 17 goals tackling major world issues, it only seems sensible that business aligns its reporting against the same objectives.”

Malcolm Preston, Global Sustainability Leader, PwC

Making a difference

The expectation is that governments will turn to business to support them to achieve the SDGs. The UK government will have its own set of priorities which will drive the action it needs to take. Business will want to align with the SDGs so that they’re making an impact that helps, not hinders, government to achieve the goals.

Our Sustainability and Climate Change team are working with clients to help them prioritise, align their strategy and incorporate the SDGs into core business.

We’ve also prioritised the areas we feel are most relevant for our own business, applying the same approach that we use when advising our clients. We’re focusing attention and creating strategy aligned with SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

The Reporting on the SDGs Action Platform will provide a structured approach on how business can prioritise and report on the SDGs.

Click here to explore how what we do brings our strategy to life
Our new strategy filter shows how our strategy has come to life in FY17.
The five key components of our strategy are: delivering exceptional client value; sustainable, profitable growth; empowering our people; technology enabled; leading by example.
This section explores each component individually to highlight the impact our client work has had in creating trust and respect in society to solve important problems.
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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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