December 13, 2018


The UN Sustainable Development Goals - 
What Matters For 40 Sectors?
G&A Institute's Research Project Yields Key Data

  • An examination of materiality decisions made by 1,387 corporations in their sustainability / ESG reports on all 91 GRI G4 Specific Standard Disclosures, linked SDG Targets, and GRI Standards Disclosures

  • Forty individual sector reports including the "Top GRI Indicators / Disclosures" and "Top SDG Targets" rankings for each sector are available for download at

Nearing the end of the 20th Century, the United Nations assembled experts to develop the eight Millennium Goals (MDGs), to serve as blueprints and guides for public, private and social sector actions during the period 2000-2015 (the “new millennium”).

For “post-2015”, the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with 17 goals and 169 targets – these are calls to action for rich and poor and middle-income nations out to the year 2030.  These ambitious efforts are focused on such societal issues as improving education, health, social protection, providing job opportunities, and encouraging greater environmental protection (global climate change clearly in focus!).

The 17 SDGs are numbered for themes – “No Poverty” is Goal #1; “Clean Water and Sanitation” is Goal #6; Gender Equality is Goal #5.  As the goals were announced after an exhaustive development process (in 2015), sovereign nations, regions, communities, corporations, academic institutions, and other societal stakeholders began “adopting” and embracing the goals. 

SDG strategies were quickly amended to align the goals with critical corporate strategies; actions and programs were formulated; partnerships were sought (corporate with government and/or social sector partners and so on).  And the disclosures about all of this began to appear in corporate and institutional GRI sustainability reports.

In the year following official launch, a wave of corporations began public discussion of the SDGs and their adoption of specific goals – those that were material in some way to the company’s strategies, operations, culture, stakeholders, geography…and other factors and characteristics.  

As the SDGs were “adopted” and embraced, companies began quickly to examine the materiality of the SDGs relative to their businesses and the first disclosures were appearing in corporate sustainability reports.

To rank the materiality of the SDGs for 40 different sectors, the G&A Institute analyst team gathered 1,387 corporate GRI G4 Sustainability / ESG reports and examined the disclosure level of each on 91 Topic Specific Standard Disclosures.  The database of the reporters materiality decisions around GRI Indicators were then linked to the 169 SDG targets using the SDG Compass Business Indicators table.

The sectors include Electricity, Beverages, Banks, Life Insurance, Media, and many more classifications (the list is available on the G&A web platform with selections to examine highlights of the research for each sector).

The results:  we now have available for you 40 separate sector reports containing rankings of the SDG Targets’ and the GRI G4 Indicators & GRI Standards Disclosures for each sector which can be downloaded here:

The research results are a starting point for discussion and planning, a foundation for determining sector-specific materiality of the SDGs and the GRI KPIs and disclosures as seen through the lens of these 1,387 corporate reporters across 40 sectors.

This is all part of the G&A Institute’s “Big Data” approach to understanding and capturing the value-added corporate data sets for disclosure and reporting.  The complete database of results is maintained by G&A Institute and is used for assisting corporate clients and other stakeholders in understanding relevant materiality trends.
We welcome your questions and feedback on the year-long research effort. 

Thanks to our outstanding research team who conducted the intensive research: Team Research Leaders Elizabeth Peterson, Juliet Russell, Alan Stautz and Alvis Yuen.  Researchers Amanda Hoster, Laura Malo, Matthew Novak, Yangshengjing “UB” Qiu, Sara Rosner, Shraddha Sawant, and Qier “Cher” Xue. The project was architected and conducted under the direction of Louis Coppola, Co-Founder of G&A Institute.

There’s more information for you at:

More information on the SDGs is at:

This Week's Top Stories

(Wednesday December 12, 2018) Source: Governance & Accountability Institute - “We plan to continue to add to and mine this Big Data set and will publicly share the results in various ways.  For our corporate clients, we will utilize this data set to enhance our engagements and guidance.  No other consulting organization has the breadth and depth of this type of ESG materiality decision making data today.   We welcome your feedback on the results and your ideas on how to utilize the Big Data set that this report begins to explore," says Hank Boerner, G&A's Chairman and Co-Founder.


Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!
For Your Attention: Items From the The Editors' -- There is Much Good News to Share

Sustainability Efforts">How Companies Can Increase Market Rewards for Sustainability Efforts
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Associated Profiles : MSCI Group (NYSE: MDX) Source: Harvard Business School - takes public sentiment data around sustainability activities obtained from TruValue Labs, culled from news stories, industry analysts, NGOs, and think tanks, and combines it with traditional ESG metrics from MSCI, commonly used...

It's Official: Customers Prefer Sustainable Companies
(Monday - December 03, 2018) Source: Entrepreneur - For years we have been saying consumers vote with their purchases. It's nice to see the world's most respected sales research and analytics company finally prove it and do so in terms that any company can understand, sales! 

How Companies Can Increase Market Rewards For Sustainability Efforts
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Forbes - For the first time, a link has been drawn between public sentiment about a company’s sustainability practices and how that company is valued in the market. 

Schmick: Sustainability investing and the millennials
(Monday - December 03, 2018) Source: The Telegraph - Companies that offer measurable social and environmental impacts that address issues like world hunger, climate risk, poverty and access to health care, seem like a good investment for those socially-minded. Finding companies... 

3 Big Sustainability Issues Facing Every Business, and How to Respond
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Source: Environmental Leader - As 2018 draws to a close, the increasingly loud conversation surrounding recycling, food waste, plastic pollution and zero waste is helping to reinvigorate people and businesses to work towards more sustainable solutions. Now we... 

Atlanta: A Dark Horse in Sustainability Innovation
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: Sustainable Brands - Recent years have seen one significant development after another from the city’s government, non-profits, colleges and businesses. As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at... 

7 cool sustainability innovations from Asia in 2018
(Friday - December 07, 2018)  Source: Eco-Business - It’s been a gloomy year for climate-related news, but the flame of human ingenuity still burns bright. Eco-Business looks at the bright ideas and innovations from Asia that caught our attention this year. 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues � More For You to Think About � What Will Be the Future Impact of These Developments?

Yale reports on sustainability goals
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Source: Yale Daily News - Almost half of the research undertaken at Yale somehow relates to the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, that are promoted by the United Nations as 17 areas in need of universal improvement, according to a new report... 

U.S. coal consumption drops to lowest level in nearly 40 years
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: NBC News - WASHINGTON — A federal report says Americans are using less coal this year than at any time since Jimmy Carter's presidency. That's despite the Trump administration's efforts to revive the country's coal industry.

A Trade Detente Would Fuel The U.S. Energy Sector And China's Environment
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Forbes - Donald Trump’s trade war with China is causing uncertainties in both the financial markets and the overall economy. To that end, the U.S. oil and natural gas sectors could get seriously hurt unless both sides can save face or one..

United States: ISS And Glass Lewis Update Their Proxy Voting Guidelines For The 2019 Proxy Season
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Mondaq - Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) and Glass, Lewis & Co. (Glass Lewis) have both released updates to their proxy voting guidelines1 This Alert briefly summarizes the significant changes to each firm's policies for the...

As U.S. Heads Towards Water Shortages, It Should Turn to Israel For Solutions
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: The Tower - As Americans turn on their taps, most are in the dark about a crisis coming to at least a third of U.S. households in the next four years: a lack of potable water. Experts predict that by 2022, 42 million Americans will be unable...

Climate Clock: How Long Until Earth Warms to 1.5 Degrees Celsius'
(Friday - December 07, 2018) Associated Profiles : Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) Source: Inverse - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5? has opened a window to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but carbon dioxide emissions are... 

FTSE Russell & Sustainalytics announce global ESG partnership 
(Friday - December 07, 2018) Source: FTSE Russell & Sustainalytics - FTSE Russell, a leading global multi-asset index, data and analytics provider together with Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG and corporate governance research, ratings and analysis, today announced a new strategic...

Headlines From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative

Sustainability in the supply chain is key for cost saving and efficiency, HSBC report finds
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: Supply Chain Daily - Sustainability is fast becoming a key conversation starter in unlocking greater efficiency and cost savings in the supply chain, a new global report has found 

A sustainability journey with T-Mobile
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: Gigabit Magazine - We speak to Chad Wilkerson, Director, Sustainability & Infrastructure Sourcing at T-Mobile regarding the telecommunications giant’s ambition to use 100% renewable energy for all its operations in three years’ time… 

All New 3M Products to Include Sustainability Value
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Sustainable Brands - US-based multinational 3M launches approximately 1,000 new products each year; starting in 2019, 100 percent of them will have sustainability built in: Today, at the United National Climate Change Conference (COP24), 3M announced... 

Agriculture tells its story through conservation and sustainability
(Monday - December 03, 2018) Source: High Plains Journal - What is sustainability? For Tom Jones, owner of Hy-Plains Feedyard LLC, Mariah Murphy, Land O’ Lakes account manager, and Matt Durler, vice president of marketing and risk management at ICM, believe sustainability in agriculture... 

And the Headlines of interest… including Auto & Energy & Media Industries

Ford’s restructuring could slash more jobs than GM’s, Morgan Stanley says
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Source: MarketWatch

Volkswagen CEO: Trump 'has a point,' so we may make cars at Ford plants
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: USA Today 


Shell is first energy company to link executive pay and carbon emissions
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Source: CNN 

Disney Revises CEO Bob Iger’s Pay Package To Add “More Rigorous” Performance Requirements
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Source: Deadline

Initiatives Tracking Beef's Sustainability
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Drovers 

New Yorkers overwhelmingly support Amazon campus in Queens: poll
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Reuters 

Wells Fargo Reform Plans Fail to Satisfy Fed After Scandals: Sources
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Associated Profiles : Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Source: U.S. News Money 

Here are the 100 best places to work in 2019, according to Glassdoor
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Deseret News

China separates arrest of Huawei executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou from US trade talks
(Friday - December 07, 2018) Source: South China Morning Post 


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds 

1MDB Scandal Tests Justice Department on FCPA and Corporate Prosecutions
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Associated Profiles : 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB, formerly known as Terengganu Investment Authority) Source: Lexology - The Justice Department’s prosecution of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case illustrates how despite early predictions otherwise, Trump administration enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is alive and... 

‘Fat-Finger’ Error Costs Norwegian Bank Storebrand Nearly $12 Billion in Value
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Associated Profiles : Storebrand Source: Yahoo Finance - Storebrand, a leading Norwegian financial services group worth more than $81 billion shed 14 percent of its share value on Wednesday morning after falling victim to a phenomenon known as a “fat ...

CalPERS Makes ESG Changes
(Tuesday - December 04, 2018) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Source: - CalPERS officials hope ESG revisions will add alpha to the pension system’s $178.6 billion global equity portfolio. Over the last eight months, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has revamped... 

Commentary of Interest

David Attenborough’s Dire Climate Warning: ‘Our Greatest Threat In Thousands Of Years’
(Wednesday - December 05, 2018) Source: Huff Post - David Attenborough, the famed naturalist and conservation advocate, issued a dire warning for the world during a speech at the United Nations’ annual climate summit on Monday: Act now, or the natural world, humanity included, may...

Cyber resilience is a choice - one that should be made now
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: Business Times - The likelihood of a cyber attack on a business is no longer a question of if, but a matter of when. No organisation is invincible, as the recent data breach of Cathay Pacific Airways' 9.4 million passengers' accounts and the hack... 

The Guardian view on climate change: too much, too soon
(Thursday - December 06, 2018) Source: The Guardian - We are losing the war against climate change; the use of fossil fuels is driving higher carbon emissions when they need to be coming down 

G&A Institute Sustainability Update
Informative, insightful, thought provoking
Governance & Accountability Institute's blog focusing on the sustainable world evolving daily before our eyes. Read it, absorb it, question it and challenge.

Corporate America & Climate Change: McDonald’s Sets Pace for Strategies & Action in Global Fast-Food Industry

SCARY STUFF: The Fourth Official “Climate Science Special Report” by the U.S. Government’s “Global Change Research Program”

The State of Sustainable / ESG Investment in 2018: The State of Corporate Sustainability Reporting & How We Got Here The G&A team develops timely insights and perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, Responsibility and Citizenship and we share with you on G&A's To The Point! platform – access is complementary with your registration.  Recent briefs include:

Tune In To This Important Report: The Fourth Official “Climate Science Special Report” Issued by the U.S. Government’s “Global Change Research Program” – Projecting the Critical Impacts of Climate Change on American Society in the 21st Century

Tech Leaders – Are They Good Corporate Citizens? Microsoft and Other Firms Address the Needs of Their Employee New Parents – And One Positive Signal is Sent

The Needle Continues to Move Forward – Developments in Corporate Sustainability / Responsibility and Sustainable Investing Continue to Shape an Important Year


Governance & Accountability
Institute Featured Service
GRI Standards Reporting
Project management, review / editing of content, GRI content indexes, in accordance level examination letter, and more 
More on GRI Standards Reporting


Louis Coppola from G&A Institute Goes In Depth on How to Improve ESG Performance


_________________________________________Governance & Accountability Institute Research

Using The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework Improves The Quality of ESG Disclosures - Joint Research From G&A Institute and Baruch College Shows

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"Sustainability - What Matters"

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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


Navigating the way to sustainability...
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The Sustainability Highlights eNewsletter is prepared by Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. based on continuous monitoring of trends and developments in Sustainability and ESG. Governance & Accountability Instiute is the "Sustainability Headquarters™" for clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors. Based in New York, G&A is a for-profit consulting organization providing a range of value-added strategies, services and resources related to ESG & sustainability to clients in the corporate and capital markets communities. For G&A's full range of services, click on each of the links below:

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