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Universities around the globe are participating in the project "Business Contributions to the SDGs – A Student Assessment", with 1300 students at 11 higher education institutions in 9 countries engaged in 2017. Building on the over 20,000 data points on corporate sustainability performance aggregated in 2017, the project aims to double the amount in 2018, creating further possibilities for analyzing and understanding corporations’ performance and disclosure rates to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

This project brings together institutions and students around the world to research how corporations impact and contribute to the SDGs. Students use public documents to gather data on corporate sustainability performance according to a topic or SDG, for example SDG 3: Good Health & Well Being, aggregate the data on the WikiRate platform, and then use the data to address a specific research question. Some students use the data-gathering process to critique the different approaches of reporting and disclosure, and to consider what kinds of information is missing or difficult to compare. Others use the data to analyze disclosure rates or performance of a company over time. All the students learn more about how data is obscured, nuanced and difficult to compare, and think about the challenges of gathering data to understand how companies impact the SDG objectives.

A full report on the 2017 pilot phase included analysis of the data collected with respect to corporate disclosure rates across sustainability topics and specific SDGs; and research on the curriculum integration from a pedagogical perspective, alongside assessment of learning outcomes and student and professor experiences. The pilot outcomes were presented to member states during the 2017 UN SDG Forum at the High-Level Political Forum in New York, to showcase this effort to track company progress to the SDGs.

Key Partners: 

  • Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)
  • UN Global Compact

“The need to gather data on SDG impact is clear. With over 8,000 companies of all sizes around the world, and the largest repository of data on corporate implementation of sustainability principles and practices, the UN Global Compact is in a good position to harvest SDG data. We are committed to helping measure private sector contribution to the SDGs for next year’s High Level Political Forum.”

– Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact