The US Sustainable Development Goals - How Companies and U.S. Cities Are Leveraging the Goal to Maintain the Pace of Progress
The nation’s leading think tanks, home to numerous scholars and policy wonks, including former officeholders (with many centers headquartered in Washington DC) focus on a variety of political, economic, cultural, environmental, science, and global issues and topics -- typically reflecting the points-of-view of their constituent base.
These research/policy centers include Brookings, Cato, Heritage, American Progress, Center for Strategic and International Studies, RAND, Council on Foreign Relations, Pew, and American Enterprise. We certainly don’t mean to leave others out – we follow more than two dozen scholar centers that provide research results related to sustainability and good governance.
The century-old Brookings Institution typically leans toward the “social liberal” views of the political spectrum on numerous societal issues, including governance, metropolitan policy, economics, social welfare, and foreign policy/global cooperation (there are five major research programs at Brookings). The organization stresses that the work is non-partisan; Brookings is among the most frequent of think tanks cited by media and the political community.
Looking at the Corporate Sector
Recently, we published the results of a year-long effort that analyzed a total of 1,387 Sustainability / ESG Reports that utilized the GRI’s G4 Framework and then linked them to the 169 SDG targets mapped in the SDG Compass (produced by the collaborators GRI, UN Global Compact and WBCSD). This study allowed us to analyze the activities of these sustainability reporters related to the SDG targets for 40 industries: https://www.ga-institute.com/SDGsWhatMatters2018
This week we present two interesting and timely Brookings Institution commentaries for you, both focused on the UN SDGs and the embrace of the goals by corporations, and by city managements across the United States.
The scholars at Brookings (George Ingraham), 2U (Mai Nguyen) and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (Milan Bala) teamed to examine 40 companies to provide a foundation of understanding of how companies are adopting the 17 SDGs, with interview with executives of 14 of the companies.
Business enterprises, they found, go through a deliberative evolutionary process to make the link between mission and sustainability. This helps the leadership to “fit” the 17 SDGs with their 169 targets with their business or values case.
Linking SDGs to the business case means (they say) maximizing growth opportunities and minimizing risk for 80 percent of the companies studied.
There were three means of doing this: (1) Strategic Integration at the top, (2) Operational Integration and (3) Organizational Integration (throughout the enterprise).
Looking at the Public Sector
There are highlights of the discussion and a video; discussion leaders represented New York City, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Metro21 Smart Cities Institute.
Important themes were explored: (1) cities are leading globally, becoming the standard bearers of American leadership as the Federal government’s sustainability efforts lag under the new administration, which is abandoning the landmark Paris Agreement; (2) cities are becoming more unified and their social fabric is unifying to deliver results on the SDG agenda; (3) no one is going to be left behind, a theme to help residents achieve the American Dream; (4) cities and municipalities are promoting innovation, leveraging the SDG themes; and, (5) best practices and outcomes are being shared as cities communicate their progress as city leaders “GSD” (they Get Stuff Done!).
To demonstrate the synergy and interconnectedness of the SDGs, Brookings explains: “Policies meant to advance progress on climate change…must simultaneously address inequities and inequality of opportunity, helping to create peaceful, just and inclusive societies…”
We present the two reports as our Top Stories for this week.
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G&A Institute is the Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) in the USA, UK and Republic of Ireland. We identify, receive, collect, analyze, database, and communicate about every report issued in any of the 3 countries. Over the past 6+ years, G&A analyzed 6,000-plus sustainability reports in this pro bono role and databased 100+ important data points for each report. Find out more @ G&A's What's A Data Partner_________________________________________
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