The SDGs as a business framework

While aviation, the wider mobility sector and all parts of the economy have a vital role to play in helping to deliver the SDGs and build more secure and inclusive societies, there are a range of actions that individual businesses can take to form a framework around the SDGs.

The 17 goals can help guide corporate strategy, aligning it with local and national government strategy.

Not all aviation partners need to concentrate on the full list of 17 SDGs. Companies should choose the most appropriate SDGs to align their strategic priorities with. The SDG Compass, developed by the United Nations Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, is an excellent resource.

The SDG Compass helps guide companies on how they can align their strategies, as well as measure and manage their contribution to the SDGs. Companies can apply the five steps to set or align their course, depending on where they are on the journey of ensuring that sustainability is an outcome of core business strategy.

  1. Understanding the SDGs: As a first step, companies are assisted in familiarising themselves with the SDGs.
  2. Defining priorities: To seize the most important business opportunities presented by the SDGs and reduce risks, companies are encouraged to define their priorities, based on an assessment of their positive and negative, current and potential impact on the SDGs across their value chains.
  3. Setting goals: Goal setting is critical to business success and helps foster shared priorities and better performance across the organisation. By aligning company goals with the SDGs, the leadership can demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development.
  4. Integrating: Integrating sustainability into core business governance, and embedding sustainable development targets across all functions, is key to achieving set goals. To pursue shared objectives or address systemic challenges, companies need to increasingly engage in partnerships across the value chain, within their sector or with governments and civil society organizations.
  5. Reporting and communicating: The SDGs enable companies to report information on sustainable development performance using common indicators and a shared set of priorities. The SDG Compass encourages companies to build the SDGs into their communication and reporting with stakeholders.

Not all companies will need to fulfil each and every step, but the SDG Compass provides a simple model for building the principles of the global sustainable development strategy into a corporate strategy.

Many of the items outlined in this report will help with an aviation-specific view, although regional and local situations will also need consideration.