Businesses can make a huge impact towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the good news is that this isn't just good for humanity, it's good for business.
It is increasingly evident that enduring commercial success is linked to a commitment to sustainable development. To fully benefit from this association, businesses need to encapsulate it in a clear purpose. That purpose should be compatible with the Sustainable Development Goals and needs to shape the way the business is both designed and run. We call this 2030 Purpose.
While many big businesses communicate a clear purpose, only a quarter link this purpose to sustainable development. And of those that do, fewer still appear to truly live that purpose.
The route to unlocking the benefits of 2030 Purpose will differ by business and sector. However, there are some golden rules: authenticity, balance and consistent application. An authentic purpose is one that is lived through the actions of the business. A balance needs to be continually maintained between emphasis on short term imperatives and longer term external commitments, while understanding developing stakeholder expectations. Finally, the purpose should be applied consistently, enduring well into the future and transcending corporate changes.
2030 Purpose is a choice and a choice that has many implications. But it is a choice that is increasingly recognised as a necessary condition for the delivery of long term value, both to direct stakeholders and wider society.
It’s good for business and good for the world.
View or download the full report to find out why 2030 Purpose is critical for your business and how you can drive purpose into the heart of your organisation.
Foreward by David Cruickshank
Deloitte Global Chairman
Committing to sustainable development is critical for all, not least business
A commitment to sustainable development
There is an urgent need for the world to find a more sustainable development path. As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework for collective action to protect our future. Businesses have a huge role to play and are being called upon by governments and citizens to participate.
A commitment to sustainable development is compatible with enduring commercial success
Enduring commercial success
Playing a positive role in society doesn’t need to be at the cost of financial outcomes. Businesses that make a genuine commitment to sustainable development outperform the market.
It’s not just compatible, it’s inter-dependent: a commitment to sustainable development positively impacts all stakeholder perspectives
1. Talent Businesses with a connection to a sustainable development goal are better able to attract and retain talent.
2. Consumers Consumers actively choose brands seen as trusted, positive contributors to wider society.
3. Partners Communities, suppliers and other partners can gain through financial and non-financial benefits.
4. Regulators Commitment to sustainable development allows a more constructive dialogue with regulators and is increasingly legislated.
5. Investors Investors are beginning to recognise the benefits of a focus on sustainable development.
The need to recognise this inter-dependency is accentuated by the digitisation of our economies and societies
6. Transparency The positive or negative impact of business behaviour can be more easily tracked and reported.
7. Engagement Engagement with stakeholders has been transformed by the way online interaction influences consumer behaviour.
8. Identity Rapid technological change is disrupting established business models and strategies, demanding a more enduring basis of corporate identity.
This inter-dependency cannot be incidental, it needs to placed at the heart of the business, enshrined in the purpose of the organisation
To fully benefit from the inter-dependency between sustainable development and commercial success, businesses need to articulate a clear purpose that can be linked to the SDGs and use it to shape the activities and culture of the organisation.
And organisations need to live their purpose, embedding it across their business
Strategy and operating model
2030 Purpose provides a north star to inform the highest levels of decision making, ultimate direction and strategy of the business. The business needs to ensure its operating model is aligned to its purpose.
Culture and values
2030 Purpose provides a moral compass for the business, which needs to influence the culture and values of the organisation and guide individual and collective behaviour.
Brand and stakeholder engagement
2030 Purpose provides an authentic platform for stakeholder engagement and should be a critical influence.