At last... a free online tool that makes the SDGs manageable for business

28 October 2016

A year after the launch of the SDGs, I’m seeing companies struggle to align their business activity to them. It’s no wonder, with 17 goals, 169 indicators and 243 targets to consider, defining how a business impacts on each of them is tough.

Identifying how business helps and contributes positively towards the SDGs, as well as how they hinder and impact negatively on them must be a good place to begin. It’s the starting point for understanding where to maintain/improve the positives and curtail/reduce the negatives. It also helps to identify the opportunities too, be it in operational efficiencies, cost reduction, innovation or market entry.

For many though, taking that first step, finding the right place to start, is daunting in itself. The results of the SDG business engagement research we conducted last year, give us some clues. We found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) features highly for many, along with SDG 9 and SDG 13. Take a look at the results for your industry using our new SDG Selector

Our SDG Selector identifies the top five SDGs looking at both the impact an industry has on each goal and the opportunity the SDG represents to the industry. We’ve also included some top tips on potential ways for business to align to each SDG e.g. paying a living wage, opting for clean energy options, complying with human rights legislation.

But there is more to aligning with the SDGs than meets the eye. Each country is performing better or worse on certain goals than others and so each government will need more or less support to drive the type and level of action it needs to take at a local level.  Knowing the challenges of the country you operate in is therefore crucial. For those operating on an international basis, taking a global perspective simply will not work - the upshot being that there is no single, global approach to the SDGs, an individual local country (or even regional) approach is required.

Our SDG Selector helps here too. Using our SDG Navigator*, it identifies the top five SDGs a country needs to make the most headway on, calculating an overall score based on performance against the underlying indicators. Select the countries you currently operate in or have a strategic interest in (via your supply chain or potential new market entry) and you’ll quickly understand the top issues that they face.

You may notice some results which at first glance look counter-intuitive, but dig a little deeper in to the targets underlying the goals and you will start to understand what is going on – and so get greater insight in to what role your organisation could play going forwards.

Being able to cut through the complexity and focus on the priorities and challenges of the country you’re operating in is critical. It will give you a head-start on working out how best to align your business to the SDGs. And alignment isn’t about philanthropic activity or how to best fit past activity to the SDGs to create some nice ‘sunshine stories’. It’s about two things:

  1. In your core operations, are you helping or hindering the national government achieve its goals? and;
  2. As you develop your growth strategy, are you focussed on the trade-ons – those activities that generate both profitable growth and also achievement of the SDGs?

Go on – take a look at the SDG Selector – after all, it’s free and who knows what it might tell you?


*The SDG Selector taps into the ground-breaking database model that is the PwC Business Navigator – based on many years of research, it pulls together over 240 performance indicators drawn from numerous global databases to create a country score against each SDG. The database is massive and complex, the score is simple. The SDG Selector also uses the results of the PwC SDG engagement research from ‘Make it your business’ to show how the business community perceive its impact and opportunity against each SDG.


Malcolm Preston | Global Sustainability Leader
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