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.
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.
|SDG||Description||SDG Mapped||Our mapping|
|SDG 1||No Poverty||77%||64%|
|SDG 2||Zero Hunger||69%||23%|
|SDG 3||Good health & well being||89%||35%|
|SDG 4||Quality Education||82%||52%|
|SDG 5||Gender equality||89%||44%|
|SDG 6||Clean water & sanitation||85%||54%|
|SDG 7||Affordable & Clean energy||77%||42%|
|SDG 8||Decent work and Economic growth||95%||71%|
|SDG 9||Industry, innovation & infrastructure||80%||69%|
|SDG 10||Reduce inequalities||62%||18%|
|SDG 11||Sustainable cities & communities||66%||29%|
|SDG 12||Responsible consumption & production||80%||50%|
|SDG 13||Climate action||84%||70%|
|SDG 14||Life below water||44%||6%|
|SDG 15||Life on land||67%||48%|
|SDG 16||Peace, Justice, and strong institutions||51%||52%|
|SDG 17||Partnerships to achieve the goals||61%||44%|