Step 5 SDG Reporting

Step 5 SDG Reporting

“At the UN Global Compact, we have made it our mission to translate the Sustainable Development Goals into responsible and innovative business practices around the world. With today’s launch of new platforms SDG on innovation, solutions, reporting and finance, we intend to accelerate change in order to meet the 2030 deadline.”  (Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact)

Main Topics: Reporting, GRI, ISO, Geberit, Water

Reporting on and communicating SDGs

The quality and quantity of global sustainability reporting has improved greatly in recent years, thanks to voluntary initiatives such as the Global Compact and particularly the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Reinforced legislation such as the EU CSR reporting obligation also made a significant contribution.

The CSR report is not an SDG report

Classic sustainability reporting cannot be transferred to SDG reporting on a one-to-one basis. To do this, transfer steps are necessary. The 'SDG Compass’ provides valuable orientation in this respect, because it encourages companies to continue to report in accordance with the principles of existing standards such as GRI, but it also gives additional tips on SDG-specific reporting.

This reporting approach will be further strengthened in future; the end of September 2016 saw the UN Global Compact and GRI agree on the establishment of clear rules for SDG reporting within the framework of the ‘SDG Leadership through Reporting’ initiative.

What makes an SDG report different?

The main difference between SDG reporting and other sustainability reporting formats is the discernible contextualisation of personal commitment to relevant global trends and goals. Regarding the issue of water, for example, a company can introduce its own activities and those in its supply chains into the understanding and action context of the ‘Access to Water’ or ‘Basis Sanitation’ SDGs. Based on these goals, the corporate impacts can then be specifically identified and measured.

What is the best starting point for an SDG report?

According to the ‘SDG Compass’, the following are particularly useful for SDG reporting:

  1. Materiality: The materiality approach enables an integration of the topics identified in the SDG process, as early as the basic orientation stage.
  2. Connectivity: The link with GRI allows the further use of existing management structures, the inclusion of stakeholders and the joint communication of the results.
  3. Measurability: Various ISO standards also offer the possibility to integrate the SDGs solidly into the business process: These include ISO 14064 (GHG Protocol), ISO 50001 (Energy Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). SMEs which shy away from an extensive ISO implementation should consider the non-certifiable ISO standard 26.000: It provides good supplementary possibilities (even as an alternative to GRI) to acquire the SDGs thematically and at the process level.

An example of corporate involvement – Geberit

Goal 6 of the SDGs states that access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation should be available for everyone all over the world on fair terms. The improvement of resource efficiency in dealing with water plays an important role here.

The major environmental performance of Geberit AG lies in water conservation. global Group active in the sanitation industry, Geberit has approximately 12,000 employees in 42 countries. Its water footprint, which covers the entire value chain of Geberit, shows that the use phase of its products accounts for almost 100% of its water consumption, whereas the manufacture of its products is responsible for less than 0.1% of its water consumption.

The development of water-conserving products plays a central role here. The new Water Efficiency Label (WELL) makes it easier for consumers and operators to select more efficient, water-saving taps and sanitary items. The WELL label is inspired by the well-known and well-established efficiency label for household appliances and performs a similar function. With one glance, consumers and the decision-makers in the public/commercial sector can see if they are buying an economical, efficient and cutting-edge product – and from the perspective of the SDGs, this is where the added value comes into play. Take Germany as an example: According to the Statistical Yearbook 2010, the average total drinking water consumption per capita amounted to 171 l/day. Households and small businesses consumed 120 l of that per person Households and small businesses consumed 120 l of that per person.. Around 2/3 of this was flushed into the waste water system having been used for toilet flushing, showers and other body care activities... activities for which Geberit products are used. These values can also be transferred to other countries and this makes them a real factor for the ‘Access to Water’ and ‘Sanitation’ SDGs.

Water consumption during production

A closer look at the corporate ecobalance of the Geberit AG shows that the consumption of water used during production and the subsequent wastewater treatment play only a minor role in environmental pollution at 0.8%. According to the current sustainability report, the reason for this is that although Geberit mainly uses fresh water from the public water supply and from wells, fresh water consumption was nevertheless consistently reduced thanks to recycling – and since 2006 freshwater consumption has decreased by 39%.

Conclusion: The water consumption of the Geberit production plants does not lead to any significant pollution of water sources within the framework of the GRI criteria and makes an active contribution to Goal 6 of the SDGs, which is to protect access to clean drinking water.


Companies that already report on relevant issues (e.g., climate, water, working conditions) can refer in their reports to the SDGs.

  • Describe and justify which SDGs are important for your company.
  • Describe the impacts your company has on the respective SDGs, the goals you set, your progress and problems.
  • By the way, it’s worthwhile using the SDG icons as a guide! Readers and your colleagues alike use them!
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