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New Survey of Experts Finds Slow Start Towards Sustainable Development Goals
06/04/2017 09:58:06

New Survey of Experts Finds Slow Start Towards Sustainable Development Goals
Source: GlobeScan

Sustainability practitioners see little progress made to date towards each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) – as well as poor progress on sustainable development overall, according to the findings of the just-releasedreport Evaluating Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals by GlobeScan and SustainAbility.

While sustainability experts agree that society’s progress on all of the SDGs has been meagre, the specific goals of Reduced Inequalities, Life Below Water, Life on Land, and No Poverty were singled out by respondents as the areas where society’s level of achievement has been lagging the most. Experts also think that Reduced Inequalities, along with Climate Action, Quality Education, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions are most important for driving overall progress towards sustainable development.

Over 500 experienced corporate sustainability professionals in 74 countries were asked to evaluate the progress that has been made on each SDG, to rank their relative urgency and also to share insights into the priorities within their own organizations. Corporate experts were also asked how their own companies are responding to the SDGs and where they see opportunities for the greatest impact. As the Global Goals were agreed on by the United Nations member states together with civil society and business in 2015, setting out the agenda until 2030, the goals are new and progress was expected to be limited.

Eric Whan, Director at GlobeScan, commented: “Our research findings underline just how difficult our predicament is, and how much of a need there is now for new forms of leadership enabled by new systems and business models, redefinitions of value, and greater trust in leaders. It is time for a step change before 2030 comes and goes.”

While the survey finds that the performance of all types of societal actors examined lacks lustre, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social entrepreneurs are seen by experts as doing the most to advance the goals (38% of experts rate the performance of NGOs, and 33% that of social entrepreneurs, as good). National governments and the private sector are seen as performing particularly poorly on contributing to progress on the SDGs (61% of experts rate the performance of national governments, and 49% that of the private sector, as poor), suggesting plenty of room for more activity and recognition in this space.
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