A bleak picture

In this week’s episode of the ‘PAYING FOR GOOD’ podcast, I welcome back Jessica Lobo, Global Goals Programme Manager at UN Global Compact Network UK. In her previous appearance, Jess introduced the network’s great work on the UN SDGs.

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 21,000 member organisations. They call on companies to ‘align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption’.

In 2018, the first ‘Measuring Up’ report was published to highlight the UK’s progress on achieving the SDGs by 2030. The report concluded that the country was making good progress on only 24% of its sustainability targets.

In late 2022, UN Global Compact Network UK released the second edition of the report – the topic of this week’s podcast.

Click here to play the podcast episode

During our conversation, Jess identifies the areas that have progressed, regressed, or not changed in 4 years. It’s painful to see that the UK is now on track to only achieve 17% of its targets.

Of course, the pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the cost of living crisis have all hampered progress. A lack of engagement from the UK Government has also not helped.

One of the areas that has regressed is Goal 1: ‘No poverty’ with an increasing number of people relying on debt and foodbanks. These people impact the sustainability of your business as they are your employees, customers, clients, suppliers, and your community’s residents. Businesses can step in and step up by, for instance, paying the Real Living Wage.

Jess emphasises the importance of partnerships (SDG 17) as progress is limited by looking inwardly at one’s own strategy and operations. The UN Global Compact Network encourages cooperation with all stakeholders and makes 5 recommendations to:

1. identify the most relevant sustainability targets for your business
2. set ambitious goals that align to your strategy
3. embed the SDGs in your communication and reporting to enhance stakeholder engagement
4. join business networks and trade associations to leverage the power of collectiveness
5. look for opportunities to collaborate and innovate

Remember that whatever sector you’re in and however big or small your organisation is, base pay, incentives, benefits, and pensions are all part of your Responsible Reward offering. By linking your sustainability and remuneration strategies, you become an employer, an investment, and an investor of choice. If you wish to explore this topic further, feel free to book a call with me.