SDG Ambition Guides: A Call to Action to Create Solutions for Sustainability


The United Nations Global Impact (UN Global Impact)—in partnership with SAP, Accenture, and 3M—releases the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Ambition guides to mobilise industry around SDG Ambition and scale impact for the 17 sustainable development goals. The guides call for the world’s leading companies to set more ambitious targets on creating solutions for sustainability and advance the integration of the SDGs into core business systems and reporting.

The SDG Ambition guides which were launched at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, include:

  • Ambition Guide: Setting Goals for the Decade of Action 
  • Integration Guide: Designing Business Systems for the SDGs 
  • SDG Ambition Benchmark Reference Sheets (for consultation) 

The guides aim to support business leaders across 1,000+ companies in 40+ countries in:

  • integrating solutions for sustainability into their core strategies, systems management, and information technology landscapes
  • enhancing their impact in line with the SDG Ambition business benchmarks
  • tracking their sustainability performance through core business systems

The guides include clear direction, goal setting, and well-defined information on the measures businesses can take to integrate each of the SDG Ambition benchmarks into their systems, as well as the key design decision required to engage technology partners. The documents provide more precise direction for leaders on which SDGs are most impacted by corporate action, and which particular business actions lead to a more significant transformation. 

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, commenting on the launch said:

“The Sustainable Development Goals will not become a reality without greater ambition as well as deeper integration within businesses. By translating the ambition level of the SDGs into concrete aspirations, actions and outcomes for business we hope that these new guides will enable business to have a substantial impact to help the world meet our collective goals.”

Setting Ambitious Goals in Integrating Solutions for Sustainability

According to the SDG Ambition guides, the first step to achieving the SDGs is setting ambitious goals and targets that are aligned with the SDG Ambition Benchmarks and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact by implementing essential actions across human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

The UN Global Compact, together with partners SAP and Accenture, developed the 10 SDG Ambition Benchmarks to challenge organisations to set more ambitious goals and targets in developing solutions for sustainability. These benchmarks can be adapted across all industries, allowing companies to set targets and metrics in the areas that are most material for their industry context. 

The 10 SDG Ambition Benchmarks

  • Gender balance across all levels of management
  • Net-positive water impact in water-stressed basins
  • 100% of employees across the organization earn a living wage
  • Zero waste to landfill and incineration
  • Zero discharge of hazardous pollutants and chemicals 
  • 100% sustainable material inputs that are renewable, recyclable or reusable
  • Science-based emissions reduction in line with a 1.5°C pathway
  • 100% resource recovery, with all materials and products recovered and recycled or reused at end of use
  • Land degradation neutrality including zero deforestation
  • Zero incidences of bribery 

The second step is business integration and tracking sustainability performance through data collection to enable accountability and more agile decision making to direct innovation and investment toward achieving SDG goals and targets. 

According to the UN Global Impact, it is imperative that businesses work with their technology partners to build systems and processes that put sustainability and social responsibility on par with other business metrics and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. 

Christian Klein, CEO of SAP said,

“Technological advancements can help turn the world’s greatest challenges into our biggest opportunities and make sustainability profitable and profitability sustainable. Tools, data and insights can help drive responsible consumption and production within the planetary boundaries, allowing us to transform towards low-carbon, circular economies.”

SAP, Accenture and 3M—as Patron Sponsor—will support the roll-out and implementation of the guides around the world.

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