ESG impact and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

12 months ago

The United Nations (UN) Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) exists to define and support a long-term agenda built around equality and sustainable development. As a globally recognized entity, the UN has significant influence in this space, and organizations from all sectors and industries often cite DSD objectives as driving forces behind their respective strategies.

DSD’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are perhaps the most widely-recognized attempt to put structure around what sustainability actually means and how it can be achieved. These 17 goals specify the ideals and areas of focus that form a foundation for global sustainability.

We’ve seen widespread support for and adoption of the SDGs in recent years. Investment funds, commercial firms, NGOs, and others all use them as guiding principles, creating a de facto standard across industries and sectors. As the world seeks to address and resolve key risks and challenges, the SDGs will play a critical role.

These 17 goals and the underlying topics they represent are at the core of our ESG impact solutions. Indeed, they have guided our services for decades, long before being established as the current UN framework. Even a cursory examination of the SDGs makes it easy to see why this is the case: the goals combine and tie together environmental, social, and governance issues to create a unified platform of change.

This integration is at the heart of what we do, and is the catalyst in driving how an ESG impact approach can lead to increased benefits for all stakeholder groups. As the SDGs themselves have become an accepted gold standard in sustainability, ESG impact solutions must be considered the gold standard in terms of how the SDGs are achieved.

Challenges cannot be resolved in isolation. We can’t address global health problems without considering education. We can’t educate the world without improved social infrastructure. We can’t preserve the environment without tackling effective governance. The 17 SDGs are presented as a single platform because each impacts the other. Effective ESG impact solutions must address individual challenges in a similar way.

The theories and applied research that have built our approach have always been driven by concepts such as shared value: benefits that can only be obtained through an integrated, holistic approach. A chief benefit of the SDGs is that they make this integration concrete and well-defined, helping to guide the implementation of our ESG impact solutions.