When the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 169 targets were launched, the message was clear to all stakeholders of the world – governments, regulators, companies, and populations – we need to do more to protect the world for future generations. So where are we now, and how are companies reacting to this brave new world? Mazars’ Global Sustainability Leadership Team explores this and more in the Global Goals Yearbook 2018.
Partnerships for the Goals
Mazars is proud to be the gold sponsor of the 2018 Global Goals Yearbook - a publication in support of the SDGs and the advancement of corporate sustainability globally. Promoting comprehensive knowledge-exchange and learning in the spirit of the SDGs and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, our Sustainability Leaders touch on four areas of best practice in relation to the SDGs:
Balancing profits and responsibility
Our Sustainability experts believe that acting responsibly as well as respecting people and the environment needs to be built into the broader business model. The costs then become an investment and, as with all investments, KPIs can be identified so that policies and processes can be managed and controlled.
In addressing the SDGs, there is a risk that businesses will simply repackage what they are already doing and align their reporting with specific goals without actually introducing anything new. Alternatively, they may select a few SDGs that they think are the easiest to address while missing the SDGs with the greatest impacts. This would be a pity and misses the point of the SDGs.
The impact of regulation
In terms of the overall effect of regulation, we have seen companies start to take greater ownership of the subject. As a result, more companies are beginning to understand what they do not know and are looking for support from firms such as Mazars to help them address and embed their CSR strategies.
This may include issues such as the identification of actual and potential material impacts on people and the environment; how risk areas have been identified; and whether they are being assessed and monitored. We have observed that CSR has moved from a purely compliance exercise to companies looking to derive greater value through the measurement of performance indicators and indexes.
Using SDGs to add value
Companies are slowly but surely beginning to report on the SDGs that represent the risks most salient to their business activities. At Mazars, we have been playing our part by helping companies create greater value for all by being more sustainable – be that educating global boards, identifying the risks on which to focus, implementing new processes, or providing assurance on non-financial reporting.
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Jerome Devillers Partner, Energy & Infra and ESG Practices Leader - New York