Measuring companies' impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The vast majority of companies (82%) communicate their performance in regard to the SDGs, but the extent and nature of that messaging varies greatly, with only 45% reporting on individual SDGs and 22% on specific SDG sub-targets. Most businesses only report on their positive impacts on the SDGs and largely lack specific, forward-looking targets related to their SDG impacts. Improved data on companies' relative impacts on the SDGs will enable the financial sector to include this in their investment decisions.

Investors currently cite the lack of measurement of impacts for the majority of businesses a particular challenge. Initiatives have emerged to improve companies' SDG disclosure, including the World Benchmarking Alliance, a collaborative initiative by Aviva, the Index Initiative and the UN Foundation. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations Global Compact have released a guide on integrating the SDGs into existing corporate reporting, alongside other complementary materials. The challenge: How might we access clear, credible data on companies' impact on the SDGs?