How to choose the goal of sustainable development

the analysis of the reporting on sustainable development drawn up by Russian and global companies, we found one common problem is the lack of a systematic approach to prioritize on sustainable development.

Often companies are limited to only a selection of a few specific sustainable development goals. All the United Nations adopted the 17 sustainable development goals. The company chooses, for example, goal 2 (end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture development) or goal 8 (promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all). But the company did not set themselves specific tasks to achieve the goal (and such tasks, according to the UN, in total 169) and, therefore, do not establish a measurable KPI.

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in Other words, companies very formally choose the goal of sustainable development, without associating them with any specific actions and measures or indicators to measure the results of those actions. This does not prevent companies to report on the achievement of objectives. They link with these objectives, already implemented projects – instead of having to plan the specific tasks necessary to achieve the purposes of sustainable development till 2030.

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Under the leadership of the Sustainable Development Goals of Compass (the”Guide sustainable development”), for the correct selection you need to take three steps:

to Assess how current and future activities of the company brings or separates the moment of achieving the goals of sustainable development, and to assess the entire chain of added value creation. Assessment should be carried out carefully to assess each site of the chain, the competence of the company in each area and to understand what positive effect can achieve the company around sustainable development. Companies are encouraged to identify specific areas that have the greatest negative or positive impact on the issues listed in the sustainable development. Need to pay attention to how the current and potential influence. It is best at this stage to involve the assessment of the impact of the company on the achievement of sustainable development external stakeholders (experts, NGOs, etc.).

to Determine which goals (and objectives for the selected goals) best match the scope and capabilities of the company. To evaluate the contribution of the company (economic, environmental and social) to solve a particular problem, serving to achieve the goal of sustainable development, apply the simple logical model. For example, the company chose the goal of 8 (decent work and economic growth). It first evaluates the necessary resources (money, number of volunteers needed time), and then determines the desired action (e.g. training, mentoring). It is important that the effect of these actions was measurable. Then the company decides what should be the product of the activity (e.g., numbers trained) and what results to expect, i.e. changes in people’s lives, for which the company and tries (for example, the number of people employed through training). The final step is to determine the long-term effect for society (for example, reduction of unemployment and poverty). It is important to track all these indicators in dynamics.

Select specific measurable KPIs. They can be evaluated as qualitative results (e.g., improvement of drinking water quality in a specific region on specific chemical elements) and quantitative (e.g., reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or waste in appropriate units). As a rule, the KPI contain medium and long-term indicators of progress in achieving the goal of sustainable development.

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Finally, companies should report on their achievements in the field of sustainable development. Usually companies use standard forms of reporting (annual or non-financial), company website and presentations at various conferences on sustainable development. Based on this information, analytical Agency form the indices and rankings in the field of sustainable development. And the more clearer the company talks about its progress in achieving the goals of sustainable development, the better it will look compared to other companies in the industry.