The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in 2015 as the centerpiece of the 2030 Agenda, represent the global framework for sustainable development until 2030. To better understand the relevance of the SDGs for Swiss businesses, we conducted an SDG-Pulse Monitor survey– the first of its kind in Switzerland. Over 103 businesses participated, providing new insights to how the SDG’s are influencing business management and operations.
Sustainserv organized an interactive event on August 20 to present the results, which was attended by over 20 highly interested business representatives. Stephan Lienin, Managing Partner at Sustainserv, started the event by introducing the SDGs as a frame of reference for corporate sustainability. He was followed by Manuela Wettstein, the Consultant at Sustainserv in charge of the study, who offered an overview of the survey results.
The study led to interesting insights:
- About 70 percent of the participating businesses consider the SDGs relevant.
- There is a clear prioritization of issues, whereas climate action (SDG 13), industry/ innovation/ infrastructure (SDG 9) as well as sustainable production and consumption patterns (SDG 12) are the most frequently mentioned.
- For about half the participating businesses it is not yet clear, how they will deal with the SDGs.
- The participating businesses see the biggest benefit of the SDGs in the alignment of their engagement, the prioritization of sustainability issues, the sensitization for the sustainability topic, the differentiation in the market and in the improvement of their reputation.
- Translating the SDGs into the specific business context is regarded as the biggest challenge at this stage.
After the presentation of the study results, Marius Schlegel from the Corporate Responsibility Team at Swisscom gave a case study of how the SDGs could look like in practice. Besides the difficulty to break down a highly complex agenda to the business context, he emphasized the opportunity to develop new business activities based on the SDGs.
Wrapping up the formal part, Andrea Ries, Coordinator of the 2030 Agenda at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), elaborated on the steps that are being taken at the federal level to advance the realization of the SDGs. She highlighted the important role of businesses and challenged them to see the SDGs as more than a new reporting system, but a compass that helps realign their core business with a global sustainability agenda.
The event conlcuded with an informal reception, which offered the opportunity to continue the fruitful discussions on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.