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Newton: The danger of ‘SDG washing’

Despite good words and intentions, corporate and government support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is falling behind. 

  • The flow of capital and tangible action needed to deliver on the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has fallen well below target.
  • The UN estimates that the successful delivery of the SDGs could ultimately add US$12 trillion to the global economy, alongside 380 million new jobs.
  • The latest report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development reveals that while 84% of member companies referenced specific goals in their sustainability reports, only 15% had aligned their business strategy to specific target-level SDG criteria
  • The money currently raised for SDG delivery goes largely to existing activities or entities, rather than bringing together new entities designed to deal with a specific issue.

Despite the near-ubiquitous presence of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the latest investment and corporate reports, the flow of capital and tangible action needed to deliver on them is behind target, with an estimated US$5 to 7 trillion of annual expenditure needed if pledges are to be fulfilled.

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