Step 4 Integration of the SDGs into the corporate strategy

Step 4 Integration of the SDGs into the corporate strategy

‘Novozymes’ technology in bio-energy, detergents, agriculture, food and feed makes us well placed to help achieve the goals relating to food security, sustainable consumption and sustainable agriculture and energy. By understanding the global goals – the global challenges – we can target our innovation to meet the needs of the present and future generations.” (Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Novozymes)

Main Topics: Climate Protection, Renewable Energies, Agriculture, Nutrition, SDGs 2, 7, 13


The ‘SDG industry matrix’

According to a survey performed by the auditing and consulting company PwC, 71% of companies are already planning their handling of the SDGs and 34% of companies have already made concrete plans and/or are in the process of implementing them. 37% of the companies that took part in the survey are currently working on a strategy.

To make the entry into the implementation of the SDGs easier for companies, the UN Global Compact and several of its partners have jointly developed various tools such as the ‘SDG Compass’ and the ‘SDG Industry Matrix’. Objective of the ‘SDG Industry Matrix’ is to provide information about measures for the attainment of the sustainable development goals and to encourage ideas on the implementation. The matrix was created in the knowledge that the opportunities for companies to contribute to a sustainable development vary from industry to industry, so it contains several publications with examples of the best and most effective possibilities for implementing the SDGs from specific industry perspectives.

So far, practical examples are available from the following industries:

  • Financial Services
  • Food, Beverage & Consumer Goods
  • Climate Extract
  • Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • Energy, Natural Resources, Chemicals (Consultation Draft)

Practical example – Novozymes

The biotechnology company Novozymes, headquartered in Denmark, has also involved itself in the implementation of the SDG’s within the framework of its possibilities. As a world leader in the production of industrial enzymes and micro-organisms for food and beverages, bio-energy, agriculture and the technology and pharmaceutical industries, goals 2, 7 and 13 are particularly relevant for Novozymes. These goals address challenges such as food security, safeguarding of access to clean energy and combating climate change.

  • The aim behind Goal 2 of the SDGs is to end hunger, achieve food security and better nutrition and to promote a sustainable agriculture.
  • Goal 7 is intended to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • Goal 13 calls for immediate measures to be taken to fight climate change and its Impacts.

“Business is no longer the problem; it is part of the solution”

For Novozymes, the SDGs represent an orientation framework on which the company aligns its goals and strategies. For the strategic orientation of the company’s core business on the SDG’s, Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Novozymes, received the ‘Local SDG Pioneer’ award from the UN Global Compact. Mr. Pedersen was the sole representative of the European economy. Novozymes sees the SDG’s not only as a challenge, but also as an opportunity for companies to find answers for a better life for a growing world population. On receiving the award, Pedersen said: “We are entering an era where responsible business is the new normal, and the private sector is identifying business opportunities from the global sustainability agenda. Business is no longer the problem; it is part of the solution”.

The long-term corporate goals that Novozymes plans to attain by 2020 – goals which are explicitly oriented on the SDGs – include the attempt to reach six billion people with its biological solutions and products, to develop ten transformative innovations, to establish five global partnerships for change and to save 100 million tons of CO2 annually.

Novozymes has also deliberately included the SDG agenda in its materiality analysis; it serves as the basis for the identification and prioritisation of the sustainability issues and activities that are essential for the company. The ‘Novozymes Report 2015’ states: “Each issue has been defined and mapped to relevant UN SDGs and GRI categories”.

As a further measure, Novozymes communicates the relevance of the SDG’s for the company prominently on the landing page of the corporate website and not just on the sustainability pages of the company.

Novozymes also reports regularly on the progress made in achieving its goals and on the next steps. According to the report, Novozymes was on the right course for its goal in 2015 in terms of improving its own environmental performance and that of its customers with the help of its products. Novozymes thus enabled its customers to save an estimated 60 million tonnes of CO2 in the past year. Despite strong business growth, the company has also kept its own CO2 footprint stable since 2007 through the use of renewable energy and product optimisation. For the future, Novozymes has numerous plans, including opening up more opportunities to increase CO2 savings even more by 2020.

Tips on the integration of the SDGs into your corporate strategy

  • Identify the opportunities that the SDGs can bring for your company, based on the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. Analyse which goals are relevant for your company.
  • Derive a strategic concept and corporate measures from this analysis. Which skills and measures can your company use to contribute to solving the global challenges?
  • These measures have proved effective: Make it clear that the SDGs are important in your communication; explicitly incorporate the SDGs in the materiality analysis; use the SDGs as a model for specific and measurable long-term corporate goals; carry out regular reporting on your progress towards every goal and on any further steps.
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