• In addition, 77% of them, identify their priorities on SDGs, but only 17% set measurable and quantifiable goals.
  • The most reported SDGs are: 13 (Climate Action), 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure).

Just three years after the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the United Nations – the global roadmap that sets out the objectives of the international community in the period 2016-2030 to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable and equal development – 80% of the IBEX35 companies are already committed to 2030 Agenda. They accomplish through their sustainability reports, explicitly reporting this responsibility.

The figure is slightly higher than the one recorded in 2017 (74%) and includes 28 companies from the main index of the Spanish Stock Exchange. It should also be noted that 26 are members of the Spanish Global Compact Network, the most important initiative for the sustainability of the private sector. This is what the guide SDG year 3. A global alliance for Agenda 2030 states, edited by teh Spanich Global Compact Network and presented in an event, chaired by Ángel Pes, president of the Spanish Global Compact Network, and Cristina Sánchez, deputy director of the institution.

The involvement of the IBEX35 in the adoption of measures relating not only to economic aspects but also social and environmental is crucial, as they are a benchmark for other companies in the country. ‘At the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held at the United Nations headquarters in New York last July, our country underwent a voluntary review to assess our progress in achieving the SDGs. It showed the need for all social actors, including the private sector, to take action and implement Agenda 2030, the best program for the future of all Humanity,’ Pes said.

To this end, a fundamental step is that companies carry out a detailed evaluation of their value chain in order to identify which Objectives can be aligned with their core business.  This practice have already carried out by 77% of the IBEX35 (27 of the 35).  In this sense, an important advance can be observed with respect to 2017, when only 20 companies carried out this exercise.  ‘However, it should be highligthed that not all companies explain in their sustainability reports how they are contributing to these Objectives in a specific way,’ stressed Sanchez. Specifically, only 20 explain how they work to achieve these. ‘This information is essential for stakeholders to understand how the value chain is aligned with Agenda 2030, its goals and indicators,’ she added.

The most reported SDGs

This guide also delves into the SDGs most reported by the IBEX35. Goal 13 – Climate Action – is positioned at the forefront. The reason for this is that the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015 and its revisions in Marrakech (2016) and Bonn (2017) have enabled large corporations to address this issue and implement measures to reduce emissions and optimize natural resources. It is followed by SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – due to its importance in creating quality employment. SDG 9 -Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure-, which led the ranking last year, drops to third place on this occasion, although companies continue to bet on research and the promotion of technology as elements of development..

On the other side, the Objectives least present in the sustainability reports are SDG 2 – Zero Hunger – and SDG 14 – Submarine Life – as these are not so aligned with the core business of the companies on the stock market index.

Another of the most remarkable aspects of the report is the wide margin for improvement in order to establish measurable and quantifiable targets once companies have set their priority Objectives: only 17% of the IBEX 35 (6 of the 35) have detailed this information.

Need for exemplary leadership and strategic alliances

In order to guarantee a business culture oriented towards SDGs, the involvement of senior management is an essential factor because, as Pes has pointed out, ‘it is the leaders who have the capacity to align business strategies with sustainability, and make this element go down transversally throughout the organization’.

In the same way, It should be noted that an ambitious agenda such as the one configured by the SDGS requires global and joint action. ‘Companies -together with other actors such as the Public Administration, educational entities, social or civil action institutions – must share their resources and tools with the intention of optimizing the work carried out around the SDGs’, stated Pes. This aspect is even more important when it comes to IBEX companies, due to their capacity to carry out actions on a large scale and at a multi-stakeholder level. For this reason, all of them carry out partnerships to promote sustainable development. However, only 13 have aligned these synergies within the framework of the SDGs. ‘This indicates that the scope for improvement is still high. However, we still have 12 years ahead to materialize Agenda 2030 and build, among all, a full, inclusive and forward-looking society,’ he concluded.