Align CSR goals with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals : A Necessity

We currently live in the midst of a global crisis, which is plagued with pandemic, environmental issues, poverty, unemployment, violence, to name a few. Also, the current economic environment is marked by the global interdependence between environment and development. It increasingly shares the view that CSR and sustainable development approaches should become an integral part of the economic concepts used by business. This is done to ensure a balance between progress, conserving natural resources, and economic growth globally.

The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 to cover a broad spectrum of such issues ranging from climate change, gender inequality and the eradication of poverty.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have attracted greater interest from many corporates and business associations. While governments play a key role in driving the SDGs, corporates are important stakeholders on account of its resources, ability to innovate and use new technologies, its scale and reach. 

CSR and SDG alignment

India is one of the first few countries to mandate a CSR law on corporates. Coincidentally, SDGs and the Indian CSR law were formulated and implemented around the same time. Corporates that wish to pursue SDGs and churn the benefits for themselves as well as the society as a whole need to keep the following things in mind:- 

Focus on relevant SDGs – Businesses often tend to miss out the chief aspects of SDGs and their impact. It is extremely important that corporates learn more about each of the goals, the relevant targets, and key performance indicators to see how these are related to their business activities and what impact they create. Based on that, they should determine the SDGs that align with their goals and focus on it.

Determine the impact – There are a total of 17 SDGs and it’s likely that a business will have very little impact on the majority of them directly. Companies need to identify and prioritize SDG targets by measuring which will have the biggest impact on the business in terms of risk or opportunity. For example – A company is contributing to all of the 17 goals, but when allocating resources, designating a timeframe, and measuring benefits, it is important to start with those targets which create the bigger impact. 

Merge to align the goals – By restructuring the sustainability policies to achieve both corporate goals and the SDGs, corporates can identify areas where they can draw ideas and innovation from existing projects to contribute positively toward SDGs. Therefore, to make SDG policies effective, corporates must merge and align these targets with the existing policies. This is done by considering the business models, R&D processes, procurement policies, supply chain process, and use of latest technologies.

Measure effectively – Implementing the policies and measuring the outcome, will help in understanding the impact caused by the amalgamation of the SDG and CSR in a better way. It is important to establish a proper method of measurement, which will give out the relevant data to be stored for future reference. Incorporating the results of your measurements and analysis is an ongoing learning process that will help you make better decisions.

Tell stories of change – Telling stories of impact and change that relate directly to your positive impact on the UN’s sustainable development goals is crucial. 

The ultimate aim of business is to serve society without eroding our environmental and community life-support systems by providing safe, high-quality products and services that improve our well-being. SociallyGood is a strong supporter of the UN SDGs and works constantly with corporates whose CSR goals go hand in hand with the SDGs. You can also come to support the corporates and Non-profits on SociallyGood, who are working hard to fulfil the SDG goals.

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