Sustainable Development Goals – A Guide for Business

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define global priorities and aspirations for 2030. They represent an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate extreme poverty and put the world on a sustainable path.

The objective of the Guide, developed by GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), is to support companies in aligning their strategies with the SDGs and in measuring and managing their contribution. There is also a four page, Summary of the guide for those who wish to sample the contents.

The guide has been developed with a focus on large multinational enterprises. However, small and medium enterprises and other organizations are also encouraged to use it as a source of inspiration and adapt it, as necessary. It is designed for use at high level, but may be applied at product, site, divisional or regional level as required.

Designed for global action: Between 2000 and 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provided an important development framework and achieved success in a number of areas such as reducing poverty and improving health and education in developing countries. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have succeeded the MDGs, expanding the challenges that must be addressed to eliminate poverty and embracing a wide range of inter-connected topics across the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The SDGs were born out of what is arguably the most inclusive process in the history of the United Nations, reflecting substantive input from all sectors of society and all parts of the world. Through the UN Global Compact alone, more than 1,500 companies provided input and guidance.

The goals are universally applicable in developing and developed countries alike. Governments are expected to translate them into national action plans, policies and initiatives, reflecting the different realities and capacities their countries possess. While they primarily target governments, the SDGs are designed to rally a wide range of organizations, and shape priorities and aspirations for sustainable development efforts around a common framework. Most importantly, the SDGs recognize the key role that business can and must play in achieving them.