How the SDG Action Manager Can Help Your Company Move the Impact Needle
This is a personal perspective from an employee at B Lab, the nonprofit behind Certified B Corporations. In this series, we invite individual B Lab employees to share their experiences, inspiration, hopes, and challenges as they work toward a more inclusive and regenerative world. This edition of B Lab Voices is from former SDG Program Manager Laura Velez Villa.
Without business action, there is no achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And without the right tools for businesses to map their impact strategies to ambitious yet measurable benchmarks, how will we know if we are actually making progress?
We have just 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global effort to create a shared, durable prosperity for all people. This really is a shared responsibility. The SDG vision calls for a deep transformation in which business must not only participate but lead—going beyond mapping business as usual to the SDGs to rethinking business models and using their collective voice to ignite further action.
Users of the B Impact Assessment will find that some of the SDG Action Manager questions already incorporate their BIA answers. Learn more at the SDG Action Manager.
Insights from B Lab and the UN Global Compact showed that while awareness of the SDGs among companies was high, they lacked the tools and direction to get started and take action. And while there are tools in the market that help companies report on their SDG contributions and how-to guides for specific practices connected to the SDGs, the SDG Action Manager fills an important gap by offering an interactive management solution that provides a 360-degree view and path to improvement.
With this need in mind, B Lab and the UN Global Compact have joined forces to launch the SDG Action Manager. The SDG Action Manager brings together B Lab’s B Impact Assessment, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and the Sustainable Development Goals to enable meaningful business action through dynamic self-assessment, benchmarking, and improvement.
As we embark on the Decade of Action, it’s crucial that businesses play a leadership role on the SDGs. The SDG Action Manager enables them to do that.
If you need more inspiration for why your business needs to take this critical action, watch this short conversation with Lise Kingo, CEO of the UN Global Compact, and Gonzalo Muñoz, High Level Climate Champion and co-founder of Sistema B.
The SDG Action Manager is made up of 17 modules: starting with a baseline module and continuing with 16 that cover SDG 1 (No Poverty) through SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Given its transversal nature, SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) is incorporated into every module. Companies are not expected to engage with all modules: They will start with the baseline and then learn about ways to prioritize their SDG efforts, focusing on SDG modules where they have the most material opportunities for impact improvement.
Each module will allow businesses to think about their SDG performance holistically, covering their business model, operations, supply chain, collective action, and risk. To help companies improve, the SDG Action Manager balances qualitative actions and quantitative measures, all of which are transparently and automatically measured to add up to SDG-level scores. As more companies join in this effort, the SDG Action Manager will allow users to benchmark their performance, comparing it to groups of companies, including B Corps.
The questions in the SDG Action Manager include guidance, definitions of key terms, and links to resource guides that help companies take action and improve their performance. They also provide an opportunity to set goals to help keep companies on track.
If you’re not sure if the SDG Action Manager is right for your company, you should go ahead and give it a try. It’s free to use and, if you’re already a B Impact Assessment user, you’ll find that some of the SDG Action Manager questions already have your BIA answers.
I encourage you to consider which goals your business is prepared to take meaningful action on over the next decade. These are ambitious goals—they need to be met with equally bold and collective business action.
So, I ask: If not now, when? If not the B Corp community, who?