India’s Top Companies for Sustainability and CSR 2019

India’s Top Companies and the SDGs

During 2017 UN Sustainable Development Summit, members from 193 countries of the United Nations collaboratively committed to adopting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as Global Goals). The countries committed themselves to meet the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The 17 SDGs and 169 interlinked targets within these range from ending poverty to stemming climate change. They provide a pathway for a sustainable and more prosperous world.

Since the Sustainable Development Goals have to be implemented by 2030, it requires an immense effort not only from the government but also businesses. The Indian Government is already using SDGs as a roadmap for formulating national policies and regulations. It is incumbent upon corporations to complement these actions.

Reporting of SDGs is a three-step process involving (i) develop priority SDG targets; (ii) measure and analyse; and, (iii) report, integrate and implement change.

SDGs is a three-step process
Source: Integrating the SDGs into Corporate Reporting: A Practical Guide, GRI and UN Global Compact, 2018

Our study indicates that the companies are gradually incorporating SDGs into their responsible business actions. Around 65% (35% previous year) companies at the aggregate level reported that they map their goals with SDGs, and a much higher proportion of companies shared their mapping – ~60% vs. 30% earlier. All the top 10 companies mapped their SDG goals. The leading sectors are IT and Energy where 90% and more companies have mapped. The laggards are Other Financials and Consumer Discretionary.

On average companies map 13 SDGs with a low of 1 to a maximum of 17. Of the companies that mapped their SDG goals, 48 (79%) were in the private sector and 46 (75%) were manufacturing companies. This clearly establishes that private companies are leading in the focus on SDG implementation. In terms of focus, the SDGs 8 (decent work), 5 (gender equality), 3 (good health & well-being), 6 (clean water and sanitation) and 13 (climate action) occupy the top position with over 84% companies reporting so. On the other hand, SDG 14 (life below water) was mapped by the least number of companies – 44%. This is significantly in-line with our consistent finding based on CSR spending that companies tend to invest in education, healthcare and environment in their CSR programmes.

We also attempted to map our scoring to the actions of top 100 companies with SDGs. The prominent SDGs were SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) with ~70% of the companies indicating it as an action item. Other important ones were SDG 1 (No Poverty), 4 (quality education), 6 (clean water and sanitation) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). Both manufacturing and service companies focused on SDG 8, 13 and 9 – similar to overall results. The pattern repeats itself across all industries.

SDGDescriptionSDG MappedOur mapping
SDG 1No Poverty77%64%
SDG 2Zero Hunger69%23%
SDG 3Good health & well being89%35%
SDG 4Quality Education82%52%
SDG 5Gender equality89%44%
SDG 6Clean water & sanitation85%54%
SDG 7Affordable & Clean energy77%42%
SDG 8Decent work and Economic growth95%71%
SDG 9Industry, innovation & infrastructure80%69%
SDG 10Reduce inequalities62%18%
SDG 11Sustainable cities & communities66%29%
SDG 12Responsible consumption & production80%50%
SDG 13Climate action84%70%
SDG 14Life below water44%6%
SDG 15Life on land67%48%
SDG 16Peace, Justice, and strong institutions51%52%
SDG 17Partnerships to achieve the goals61%44%