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Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Workshop

SchweryCade hosted its first workshop of 2019 at company headquarters in Biel/Bienne on Thursday, 24 January. The subject of the workshop was the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the purpose was to build a greater understanding of what the SDGs are and why and how to use them in a business’s strategy.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were officially endorsed by 193 United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s “global blueprint for dignity, peace, and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future.” The SDGs follow in a tradition that began at the Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at which a plan of action was adopted to build a global partnership for sustainable development. The SDGs differ from past goals in that they are targeted toward getting both developed and developing countries to join in a global partnership.




With a growing number of options when it comes to planning for and reporting on sustainability, the workshop provided an opportunity to compare the SGDs in parallel to one of the most commonly used standards, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). As SchweryCade offers support with GRI training, reporting, and certification, this expertise was used to examine the SDGs from another reporting perspective.

During the workshop presentations, participants learned that the SDGs were originally conceived with governments in mind, and the go-to model for businesses has been GRI. Yet, now businesses, as well as international sports federations and other sectors, are looking to align with the United Nations’ goals.

For many who are contemplating incorporating the SDGs into their business strategy, the question often comes up regarding how much value the SDGs can bring? Many believe that adhering to the SDGs will be too costly to implement, yet according to the Better Business, Better World report published by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission “sustainable business models could open economic opportunities worth up to US$12 trillion and increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030.”

It is important to remember that when contemplating whether or not to use the SDGs, it is valuable to also look at the GRI Standards to decide the approach that is taken. GRI offers a broader selection of topics and social issues that are directed for businesses, and GRI is more flexible because additional (non-GRI) disclosures can be added. By knowing this and becoming familiar with both, the SDGs can be used more effectively in a business’s approach to reporting.

The five key steps to remember when integrating the SDGs into a report are:

  1. Prepare: consider the Standards or SDGs that you want to apply and that are relevant;
  2. Involve: stakeholders should be consulted as part of the process;
  3. Define – will you report from a GRI perspective and link to the SDGs, or from an SDG perspective and link to GRI, or can they both be combined?
  4. Monitor – find indicators and share how they are relevant;
  5. Report.

If you are interested in learning more about either the SDGs or GRI, please reach out to info@schwery.com.