Are We Actually Making Progress on the SDGs?
By Tove Malmqvist
In 2015, United Nations member states, together with civil society and business, came together to prepare a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outline 17 areas where we need to make a collective effort and provide a useful sustainability framework for business and other actors. We have a decade until the 2030 deadline and businesses are increasingly committing to the goals in a public way.
While there are signs of progress, GlobeScan and SustainAbility’s recent SDG Progress Reportshows that sustainability experts continue to view progress on sustainable development as largely inadequate, and rate poorly businesses’ contribution to advancing the goals. More than 450 sustainability professionals from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa responded to the survey, and the resulting report draws comparisons between current findings and data collected two years ago on the same topic.
Results indicate a long-term trend toward less negativity among experts on sustainability progress overall. The proportion rating society’s progress on sustainable development as “poor” has declined substantially compared to when this question was first asked in 2005. At that time, as many as 84 percent of sustainability professionals surveyed rated progress as “poor”; this proportion is down to fewer than half (49 percent).