New blueprint for UN Principles for Responsible Investment, activist shareholders gain ground, internal carbon pricing rises

ALMOST NINE in 10 (89%) of middle managers don’t have a good grasp of what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are or why they are important, business leaders say. According to a new report commissioned by business membership group CSR Europe, heightened awareness of the United Nations’ flagship sustainable development campaign is largely limited to senior management. Even then only about half (53%) of executives give any meaningful attention to the SDGs.

Officially launched in January 2016, the SDGs set 17 targets for conservation, anti-poverty, sanitation for all and other core development themes. Getting in the way of greater business engagement are three main barriers: low social awareness and stakeholder interest (cited by 51% of the 160 senior European business leaders surveyed), lack of clarity on implementation (37%) and weak government commitment (36%). The engagement level of business leaders varies widely across the 17 goals as well. Promoting decent work and economic growth tops the agenda for the private sector, followed by wellbeing for all, responsible consumption and mitigating climate change. The lowest priorities are the provision of water and sanitation for all, reduction of global inequalities and conservation of the world’s oceans.

The relative lack of business interest...

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