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In 2015, the 193 countries of the United Nations adopted 17 goals with 169 targets that aim to transform the world making climate change, gender inequality, poverty, and hunger not just a philanthropic ideal, but a global reality by 2030. The UN explains that these 17 goals are unique- calling for action by all countries to promote prosperity and protect the planet. “They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social, protections, and job opportunities, while tracking climate change and environmental protection.” Implementing the SDGs by 2030 poses a significant shift in not only governmental entities, but for companies and corporate governance as a whole. Companies will need to restructure their sustainability plans and even may benefit from separate sustainability officers, committees, and implementing board meeting management software dedicated entirely to the cause. “…Choices made now and over the next fifteen years will lock in carbonization, urbanization, and demographic trends that will shape the future of humanity for decades to come,” says Brookings. However, company reporting on the SDGs and targets has proved a daunting task for business. Board meeting management software, often reserved for electronic board books and board of director communications is now a useful tool to help companies securely organize, seamlessly plan, and transparently report on the SDGs.
SDG Benefits for Business
Reaching SDG targets can ultimately put financial value on the success of sustainable initiatives within organizations and the world as a whole. The Better Business, Better World report of the Business & Sustainable Development Commision found that the implementation of the SDGs could create nearly 380 million jobs and opportunities worth $12 trillion. “Factoring the SDGs into business strategies will open new business opportunities, introduce efficiencies and innovation, and improve reputations,” reports Brookings. The SDGs also have the potential to improve the global business climate and a basis for corporate growth. Businesses, after all, are the engine of our global economy. “Designed to set the development agenda for the next 15 years, the SDGs are, in many ways, tailored for businesses that are looking to integrate sustainability into their business plan,” says The Guardian. This developing symbiotic relationship between business and the SDGs is key to the success of the program and reaching the targets needed to achieve a world-changing phenomenon.
However, signing on to the SDGs is easy, but integrating them into business can prove a more arduous challenge. “As beautiful as these goals are, as much as we all support what they stand for, 17 goals and 169 targets are too much for any businessperson to deal with,” says Peter Bakker, CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The transformation from ideas, to strategy, to execution is looking like rough terrain. Board meeting management software can help to ease the transition and seamlessly integrate the SDGs into already existing sustainability plans and achieve this level of financial gain.
Reporting on the SDGs
The SDGs are further complicating the reporting framework due to the entanglement of not just sustainability, but economics and social issues. Businesses need a stringent reporting approach using board meeting management software for this purpose.“From tallying carbon footprints to wrangling waste in global supply chains, rising demand for corporate transparency from investors, consumers and enterprise customers has translated to an ever-widening array of reporting and surveying related to corporate responsibility,” explains GreenBiz Group. Board meeting management software utilized for better SDG reporting is a key implement in company success and CEOs around the globe seem to agree.
According to the 2016 UN Global Compact Study, 86% of the interviewed CEOs believe that standardized impact metrics will be important in unlocking the potential of business on the SDGs. 73% of CEOs believe that business should develop common indicators to measure and communicate impact on the SDGs. Utilizing board meeting management software can help this endeavor, particularly by organizing standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative’s sustainability guidelines, which are now used by 92% of the world’s largest corporations. These standards are easily housed and accessed by integrating board meeting management software into governance best practices.
Setting Goals & Reaching Targets
The first step to integrating the SDGs into business plans using board meeting management software is looking at existing sustainability plans and define priority SDG targets. Certain SDGs and their targets naturally fit in with most companies’ goals for sustainability. This reporting approach accounts for the SDGs specific to that company and how to meaningfully measure their progress in reaching these goals. This can be achieved with the help of board meeting management software. Board meeting management software is important for sustainability practices like creating paperless board books and helping boards of directors become a more paperless enterprise overall. However, board meeting management software can be adapted to other company needs regarding SDG reporting.
Risk Management, Data Analysis, and Ultimate Collaboration
When a company has finalized its priority SDG targets, they must also define and report on risks associated with the targets. Risk reports are made easy with board meeting management software. Board meeting management software allows for reporting on risks such as reputational risks, financial, legal or regulatory risks. Secure reporting on risks associated with business continuity or risks related to the recruitment, retention, and productivity of employees, executive leadership, and board members are necessary data to house in board meeting management software. The measurement and analysis of securely housed SDG data is also imperative for all company stakeholders.
SDG reporting is also based on measuring and analyzing the data received from sustainability efforts. Every government and board of directors can utilize board meeting management software to track data and sustainability analysis. This is especially important when reporting on data that adequately reflects a company’s contributions to their SDG targets. The reports stored in a scalable, secure board meeting management software will drive decisions for resource allocation and allow for directors to adjust strategies as the company changes and grows.
Integrating board meeting management software into SDG reporting is the best way to implement worldwide change through directors, shareholder, and stakeholder collaboration. Executive leadership and board members can view documents and data securely to better implement SDG targets into business strategy. Users of the board meeting management software can also offer constructive engagement on performance and areas of improvement. The SDG reporting process also requires community, corporate, and global presentations. Presenting SDG targets, performance, and global impact with board meeting management software allows companies to highlight success and address areas for growth. Board meeting management software offers seamless presentation mode features to provide insight into how the company is reaching priority SDG targets. For companies and directors who operate in different locations around the globe, all functions, documents, and information are readily available on any device when and where those stakeholders need it.
Board meeting management software also allows secure disclosure of company contributions to SDG targets. Document libraries with three levels of security permissions can link to other relevant laws, regulations, and reporting standards. Link to a multitude of supporting documents with board meeting management software. In addition to formal reporting, board meeting management software utilizes other relevant channels to communicate your business sustainability strategy and SDG performance, even with offline capabilities. Board meeting management software that includes voting will allow companies to assess if they are meeting their objectives by allowing leadership, directors, and shareholders to reflect on improvements, survey users for new approaches to meeting goals, and vote on new targets.
Businesses are paying attention to the SDGs and taking the necessary steps to implementing them into their business plans and creating partnerships around the world to foster sustainability, gender equality, climate change, and poverty. Above all, users of board meeting management software to aid in SDG reporting are always informed to drive optimal decision making to better integrate the SDGs into company strategy. Ultimately, board meeting management software helps companies not only manage their board of directors and transparently report on their SDG targets, it fosters sustainability and the goal to make the world a better place.
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