The international community’s Sustainable Development Goals aim to eliminate poverty, manage climate change, improve health, and expand education throughout the world by 2030. Execution against these goals, however, requires more than NGOs and public agencies, according to Mahmoud Mohieldin and Svetlana Klimenko of the World Bank. The authors see the private sector, especially multinationals, helping to bring capital to developing countries and raising the bar through improved environmental, safety and other standards. They review emerging frameworks for reporting on these activities and encourage further progress.
Many companies are integrating sustainability-related issues into their core practices and reporting accordingly. That said, open questions remain about whether companies are “checking the box” or finding areas of competitive advantage (Morgan Stanley has looked at this from a financial perspective). Alignment of corporate strategies with the SDGs would be the most powerful driver for the realization of those goals.