Walking the Talk: Assessing companies’ progress from SDG rhetoric to action

Business has the potential to play a key role in helping society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet three years after the adoption of the SDGs, reliable information regarding companies’ uptake of and contributions to the goals remains patchy. To address the same lacuna, this paper presents and analyses evidence, based on a review of public information on the SDG engagements of 76 of the world’s largest companies, across a set of sectors that have an important impact on the SDGs.

The paper provides an analysis of progress and shortcomings in the way companies have engaged with the SDGs to date, as well as an explanation of what is holding back more meaningful action, including a dependency on the corporate model, a lack of collective action, and the presence of a shrinking civil society space. In addition, good practice are highlighted to show how business can more effectively engage with the SDGs.

Download the paper here.

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