story highlights

GlobeScan and SustainAbility released a survey on corporate responses to and perceptions of the SDGs.

The Harvard Business Review posted a blog with recommendations on how corporations can prioritize their efforts to support the SDGs.

GSMA launched the ‘Big Data for Social Good’ initiative, which will leverage the capabilities of mobile operators to address humanitarian crises, with an initial focus on epidemics and natural disasters.

16 March 2017: GlobeScan and SustainAbility released a survey on corporate responses to and perceptions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Harvard Business Review has published recommendations on how corporations can prioritize their efforts to support the SDGs. In February, GSMA, which represents mobile operators, launched the ‘Big Data for Social Good’ initiative to leverage the capabilities of mobile operators to address humanitarian crises, with an initial focus on epidemics and natural disasters.

In the GlobeScan/SustainAbility survey, titled ‘Evaluating Progress towards the SDGs,’ sustainability executives say their companies are developing products or services in line with the SDGs, with one-third of respondents saying their organization is using the SDG framework to set long-term sustainability strategies or goals. An additional 35% of respondents highlight the role of public-private partnerships or multi-stakeholder collaboration in delivering the SDGs. On SDG progress, over 60% of respondents say progress on SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land) is poor. Experts identify progress on SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 10, SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) as most important for driving overall sustainable development progress.

In a HBR blog post, ‘How Companies can Champion Sustainable Development,’ Bhaskar Chakravorti makes recommendations based on an analysis of “inclusive innovators,” suggesting that companies focus on prioritizing specific SDGs, and “stop trying to visualize the entire SDG framework.” He proposes that company managers focus on three steps: segmenting the SDGs relevant to their business to establish a hierarchy, and identifying the most important SDGs for the company; focusing on meaningful impact by identifying which SDGs intersect with the company or its value chain; and establishing a commercial argument, by identifying business case factors.

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain, in February and March 2017, 16 mobile operators accounting for more than two billion connections across over 100 countries launched the ‘Big Data for Social Good’ initiative. Announced with the UN Foundation, the initiative aims to develop common processes and mechanisms that can be scaled to support timely planning and responses to crises. Humanitarian crisis response will be supported by using anonymized meta-data generated by mobile networks, which is expected to increase the accuracy of aid evacuation, response and recovery efforts. The initiative will conduct pilot trials focusing on epidemics in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Myanmar and Thailand. According to GSMA, the initiative will have positive effects on many SDGs, particularly SDG 1, SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 10, SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 and SDG 17 (partnership for the Goals).

Also on data, GSMA and UN Global Pulse released a report on the ‘State of Mobile Data for Social Good.’ The report illustrates how mobile-derived insights can support public policy objectives, including by addressing humanitarian crises, helping to describe and address development issues, including tracking progress in real time, and complementing traditional data sets to enhance the ability to track SDG progress. The report also makes recommendations on the use of mobile data for social impact. [GlobeScan Press Release] [SustainAbility Press Release] [Evaluating Progress towards the SDGs] [Harvard Business Review Blog] [GSMA Press Release] [State of Mobile Data for Social Good: Report Preview]

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