An Analysis of SDG Reporting Maturity

An Analysis of SDG reporting maturity

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World's top companies missing out on SDG business opportunities

Assessing corporate reporting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Most of the world’s leading companies are not reporting the business case for taking action on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a new study from KPMG published today.

The study – entitled How to report on the SDGs: What good looks like and why it matters – reviews corporate reporting on the SDGs from the world’s largest 250 companies (G250) and assesses it against nine SDG reporting quality criteria.

KPMG’s research finds that within two years of the SDGs being launched in 2015, four in ten (40 percent) top companies acknowledged the global goals in their corporate reporting. Of these, 84 percent identified the SDGs they consider most relevant to their business.

However, less than one in ten has reported a business case for action on the SDGs (8 percent) or has set specific and measurable (SMART) business performance targets related to the global goals (only 10 percent).

Adrian King, a lead author of the study and KPMG’s Global Lead for Sustainability Reporting & Assurance, said:

“There are huge business opportunities inherent in tackling the world’s toughest problems, but so far only a handful of big companies have shown they understand that. These few leaders stand to benefit from recognizing the SDGs as a powerful catalyst for the innovation, partnerships and market transformations that build businesses. They will also be at an advantage when communicating with the many investors, governments and other stakeholders who are taking an increasing interest in the contribution of business to the SDGs.”


How to report on the SDGs - view the PDF


Other key findings from KPMG’s study include:

  • The SDGs most commonly prioritized by leading companies are Climate Action (SDG13), Decent Work & Economic Growth (SDG8) and Good Health & Wellbeing (SDG3)

  • The SDGs least commonly prioritized are Life on Land (SDG15), Zero Hunger (SDG2) and Life Below Water (SDG14)

  • Three quarters (75 percent) of companies that report on the SDGs discuss the impact their business has on the goals, but reporting is largely unbalanced with most companies discussing their positive impacts but not the negative

  • Four in ten (39 percent) companies that report on the SDGs include the global goals in their CEO and or Chair’s message

  • Only one in five reporting companies reports on any of the 169 individual SDG targets set by the UN


How to report on the SDGs: What good looks like and why it matters can be downloaded here

For further information contact:

Erica Miles
Director - Sustainability
+64 21 065 3860

About the study:

How to report on the SDGs: What good looks like and why it matters is intended to help companies that are unsure about how to report on the SDGs, where to start and what good SDG reporting looks like.

It proposes quality criteria for SDG reporting which readers can use as a guide for their own organization's reporting. It also analyzes how reporting from the world's 250 largest companies measures up against these criteria to help readers benchmark their own reporting against this global leadership group.

The research sample represents the world’s top 250 companies by revenue as defined by the Fortune Global 500 ranking of 2016.

Initial research was carried out by sustainability professionals at 49 KPMG member firms who reviewed reporting by the top 100 companies in their country as part of the research for the KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017 (published October 2017). Sustainability Services professionals at KPMG in India subsequently conducted deep dive analysis of the SDG reporting practices by the G250.

The analysis was based on a review of public reporting in annual financial accounts, websites, corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability reports and standalone SDG reports published between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

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