- Also read: The importance of SDGs in business (Part 1)
3. SDGs at leading global companies
Let's take a look at leading global companies to see what they are actually doing relative to achieving its SDGs.
With the goal of zero carbon dioxide emissions (carbon neutral), a company that manufactures digital products with a focus on smartphones has declared that by 2030, all their suppliers will manufacture its products using clean energy. A continually growing tech company that focuses on E-commerce sites has pledged to switch to renewable energy sources by 2030, then go carbon neutral by 2040, and is in the process of introducing electric delivery vehicles.
Major automobile manufacturers around the world are actively engaged in developing electric Vehicles (EVs) with the goal of going carbon neutral. In China, the world's largest automobile market, a plan has been outlined to ensure that EV cars make up the majority of new car sales by 2035. The U.K. has established a policy to forbid the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030. These factors will likely accelerate competition among EV manufacturers.
As we can see, SDGs influence national policy, and corporate investors watch such policies while formulating investment strategies. This perspective from the investment marketplace confirms the positive impact on companies who have adopted SDG policies as a vital part of their overall plans for growth.
4. How should we engage in SDGs?
So, how should businesses engage in SDGs? It is important to set clear goals and have a strategic perspective that permeates efforts on SDGs throughout company. When doing so, it may be a helpful in the company’s approach to refer to the SDG Compass, a set of guidelines for businesses created by United Nations affiliates, and the SDG Industry Matrix, which introduces case studies in various industries. The SDG Compass includes five steps for engaging in SDGs.
Step 1. Understanding the SDGs
First you need to understand an overview and the significance of the 17 goals and 169 targets in the SDGs, how they were established, and how they can be used in business.
Step 2: Defining priorities
Next it is important to identify areas that you can contribute to, or areas that could be negatively impacted from, among the 17 goals. You then need to expand the areas where you can make a contribution by reducing or avoiding negative impacts so that you can identify your priority issues.
Step 3. Setting goals
Once you identify priority issues, then you can set goals. For example, as mentioned in going carbon neutral by 2040, it is suggested that specific, measurable deadlines be set.
Step 4. Integrating
The leadership from the company’s management team is essential in establishing SDGs inside the organization. To incorporate SDGs into the business strategy and corporate culture, it is important to integrate SDGs into operations, such as by making SDG promotion a standard for recruitment and compensation.
Step 5. Reporting and communicating
Lastly, make regular reports on SDG progress. Out of the top 250 global companies, 93% disclose information on their level of SDG achievement. This helps earn greater trust from stakeholders and improves corporate value. Disclosing such information also creates new business opportunities and partnerships.
With leading global companies and their respective supply chains engaging in SDGs, society is moving together and in line with SDGs. These goals are essential for running a business. At Murata Manufacturing, we have incorporated the goal of improving social issues from an ESG viewpoint into our operational strategy and are consciously promoting this business philosophy in harmony with our stakeholders. The next part of this series will introduce some specific SDGs at Murata Manufacturing.