Webinar: Sustainability Tools – SDG Compass – Aligning Business Goals with the SDGs

sustainability tools sdg compass

On November 24th, 2015, the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) hosted a webinar on “Sustainability Tools – SDG Compass – Aligning Business Goals with the SDGs”. The webinar was hosted in partnership with KPMG, TELUS and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  The aim of the webinar was to introduce the SDG Compass – a tool designed specifically for businesses interested in using the SDGs as a way to act upon the global sustainable development agenda. The webinar helped to to make the new global sustainable development agenda accessible to business leaders and guided Canadian businesses towards addressing some fundamental questions related to the implementation of the SDGs. sustainability tools sdg compass

One of the main themes of the webinar was understanding which of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets are material to business and what are the best ways of working towards them.

Helle Bank Jorgensen, President of the Global Compact Network Canada, started by providing a comprehensive overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Helle mentioned the widespread public inputs that were collected for their development, and the vast opportunity these goals present for private sector engagement, investment and growth.  Helle also presented the preliminary findings of a survey that was conducted by the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) to assess and understand which of the 17 SDGs are of strategic interest to Canadian businesses and organizations and to see how the network can help them achieve their sustainable and strategic goals. Survey findings will be discussed in detail in a session by GCNC in the near future.

Emily Grady, Manager North America at WBCSD presented the SDG Compass, a sustainability tool that has been developed through a multistakeholder process by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and UN Global Compact. According to Emily, a study shows that businesses are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); however, they don’t believe that they have the adequate tools they need to integrate the goals into business strategies. To change this disposition, the SDG Compass provides a 5 step guide, along with indicators and business tools mapped against the SDGs to help business leaders with SDGs alignment. The 5 steps are:

  1. Understanding the SDGs
  2. Defining Priorities
  3. Setting Goals
  4. Integrating the Goals
  5. Monitoring and Communicating

Tania M. Carnegie, Leader at KPMG Impact Ventures & National Executive Director, presented the two-fold role of KPMGwhen it comes to the SDGs. Together with the UN Global Compact, KPMG has developed the SDG Industry Matrix to showcase industry-specific examples and ideas for corporate action. The first matrix for Financial Services was launched in September 2015, and the remaining matrices will include the following industries: transportation, industrial manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, food, beverage and consumer goods, energy, natural resources and chemicals, infrastructure (including real estate and construction). Besides the SDG Industry Matrices, KPMG fundamentally contributes to all of the 17 goals as a firm through various initiatives, such as its Corporate Citizenship Programs, and partnership with organizations such as Free the Children to advance goal #1 – Zero Hunger and goal #5 – Gender Equality.

Geoff Pegg, Director of Sustainability at TELUS shared the manifold initiatives and internal goals of TELUS related to the SDGs. One of main focus areas of the telecommunication company lies in the reduction of the firm’s energy footprint by 2020. A key takeaway from Geoff’s presentation was the emphasis on education given to employees and consumers, as well as internal and external stakeholders. TELUS has already reviewed current initiatives, such as “we give where we live” and their Sustainability Council, and mapped them with all of the 17 SDGs. As a result, ambitious and transformative targets can be set, impacts can be assessed and reported, and solutions and tools can be found to advance the goals. sustainability tools sdg compass

After the presentations, the audience engaged in a very active Q&A session, where questions related to the following topics were asked – measurement of Public Private Partnership impacts, reporting of the SDGs, and governance processes.

If you want to learn more about the SDGs and sustainability tools, contact Elisabeth Resch at elisabeth@unglobalcompact.casustainability tools sdg compass