The US Sustainable Development Goals – How Companies & US Cities Are Leveraging the Goal to Maintain the Pace of Progress




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
The themes of the SDGs are being actively embraced, adopted, and pursued by a widening range of companies.  We see in our own monitoring of corporate sustainability / responsibility reporting the steady embrace / adoption of certain of the Goals that seemingly align with the mission of the corporation.  “Water” the #6 Goal or “Poverty” the #1 Goal or “Gender Equality” the #6 Goal are among these. 

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).

Here's the link to the study document from Georgetown University.

Looking at the Public Sector
The second Brookings study also looks at the SDGs and how these are helping U.S. cities’ leadership and citizen base in tackling “urgent local economic, political and environmental challenges” – those vital to the health and well-being of residents. (This was a discussion at a D.C. event in November 2018.) 

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.

This Week's Top Stories

How corporations are approaching sustainability and the Global Goals
(Wednesday - January 09, 2019) Source: Brookings - Corporations are increasingly building sustainability into their business strategies, and linking outcomes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as seen in the 7,500 companies issuing annual sustainability or corporate... 

US cities leading on the Sustainable 
(Friday - January 11, 2019) Source: Brookings Institute - On November 29th in D.C., an event co-sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings examined how the 17 U.N. Sustainable... 

Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

The Biggest Sustainability Trend for 2019 Will Be …
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Earth 911 - s we look toward 2019, what can we expect as the biggest trend in sustainability? Keep in mind, most of the significant green fads over the last 12 years have been fueled by legislation, price decreases, or scientific studies.... 

Policies Or Technology? The Key To A Sustainable Energy Future
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Forbes - Should policy or technology take the lead? It is not a reasonable question when it comes to deciding where the keys to a sustainable energy future lay – we need both. 

Plastic-free flights and blockchain offsets: The sustainability success stories of the week
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Edie.net - As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe. 

The sustainability movement has disappeared. Where did it go?
(Wednesday - January 09, 2019) Source: GreenBiz - The sustainability movement, which I have championed for most of my adult life, seems to have disappeared. 

Sustainability execs share strategies for new era of ESG disclosure
(Thursday - January 10, 2019) Source: GreenBiz - How is your company adapting its disclosure processes/practices on ESG issues to address the interests of institutional investors?

How CSR Managers Can Inspire Other Leaders to Act on Sustainability
(Friday - January 11, 2019) Source: Harvard Business Review - Many companies care about corporate social responsibility (CSR). But putting it into practice requires more than CEO speeches and company policies; managers and employees have to be on board, so that initiatives can be... 

California Giant’s sustainability plan progresses
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: The Packer 

Fuel Efficiency, Safety, Sustainability are Top Challenges for Fleets
(Wednesday - January 09, 2019) Source: Waste 360 

Mammut joins the Sustainable Apparel Coalition
(Thursday - January 10, 2019)  Source: Companies 

Sustainable Packaging Startup TemperPack Raises $22.5 Million To Take On Styrofoam
(Friday - January 11, 2019) Source: Forbes 

Resolutions: The CFDA Wants Designers to Focus on Sustainability, Body Positivity, Diversity and Equality in 2019 
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: The Fashion Spot 

Sponsored Message


ESG Topics & Issues

United States: 2019 Proxy Season – Quick Reference Guide
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Mondaq 

Top CEOs Place High Value On Corporate Ethics And Social Responsibility To Drive Business
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: Forbes 

U.S. Carbon Emissions Surged in 2018 Even as Coal Plants Closed
(Wednesday - January 09, 2019) Source: New York Times 

Survey Highlights Corporate Governance Trends of Silicon Valley 150, S&P 100 Companies
(Thursday - January 10, 2019) Source: Law 


Headlines From the Corporate Sector

France presses Renault over executive compensation paid via Dutch holding company  
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Reuters

Harley-Davidson’s first all-electric motorcycle is coming August 2019, will cost $29,799 27 Meet LiveWire
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: The Verge 

Supreme Court rejects Exxon Mobil appeal in climate case
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: The Hill

Study: Coca-Cola Shaped China's Efforts To Fight Obesity
(Friday - January 11, 2019) Source: NPR

 

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

San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Becomes Major ESG Force
(Thursday - January 10, 2019)  Source: Ai-cio.com - the New York City Pension plans, California’s public employees and teachers’ plans, an analysis by Collins concluded. The analysis showed that none of those plans’ ESG investments exceeded 3% of their total...


Commentary of Interest�
 

Editorial: America can save itself, but we have to get out of the red vs. blue rut
(Monday - January 07, 2019) Source: Dallas News - The American electorate's confidence in governing elites and established institutions has been coming unglued. 

Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan thinks the Ocasio-Cortez 70% tax plan is ‘a terrible idea’
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: CNBC - Raising the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans to 70 percent would put a major dent in the economy, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Monday

Leading With Ethics
(Tuesday - January 08, 2019) Source: Forbes - In today’s high-visibility world with the constant social media avalanche, it’s more important than ever to ensure that, as a leader, your ethical message is consistent. Anyone out there can talk the talk, but if you don’t truly... 

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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.

There Were Many Positive Developments for Sustainability Professionals in 2018 and Much Promise for What’s To Come in 2019 – We Are Watching For You

Have You Tuned in to The Green New Deal? The “GND”? — You’d Better!

Recycling – The Circular Economy: Admirable Efforts, With Significant Challenges As The Efforts Expand & Become More Complex for Businesses

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