GoldenBee Insights

Can SDGs be the Bible for corporate management after the pandemic?

source:goldencsr    date:2020-03-18 13:18:24

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited enterprises and the social economy and affected people’s health and life. And it has brought incalculable loss to China and the world.


The root and spread of the pandemic is a result of the unsustainable mode of consumption and production and the disharmonious relationship between human beings and nature.


To avoid or reduce similar public health emergencies, the whole society needs to pay high attention to sustainable development. For the public, "advocating a civilized, healthy, green and environmental lifestyle" has become an inevitable choice. For enterprises, only establishing an SDG-oriented operation and management mode can they form a positive interaction between enterprise development and social progress. This should become a consensus of enterprises and society after the pandemic.



How to make full use of the SDGs?


I. Understanding SDGs and integrating them into development strategy


It is essential for enterprises to correctly understand the opportunities and challenges brought by SDGs for business and deeply integrate them into the corporate culture and philosophy system, and further achieve their recognition and pursuit of sustainable development in the value orientation and top-level design. Among enterprises who performed positively in the pandemic, some shape their philosophies and actions towards sustainable development. For example, Mengniu put forward the vision of "protecting the common health of human beings and the earth", set up its development strategy with 10 commitments mapping the SDGs, and established a sustainability system with 12 sustainability issues.


II. Building a multi-objective enterprise value measurement mechanism guided by SDGs


Identifying the potential impact of business units on the 17 goals and 169 specific targets of SDGs, prioritizing the enterprises' contributions to SDGs, setting targeted sustainable development goals and action strategies, and regularly evaluating the accomplishment of goals and making improvement---these are not only a feasible path for enterprises to implement SDGs, but also an important method to measure their development quality. For example, Intel has set up challenging sustainable development goals in environment, community and other aspects. It evaluates the accomplishment of the goals every year, and discloses results to the public in its sustainability report. With positive and transparent practices, Intel delivered sustainable development value to important stakeholders and helped partners in value chain build up the confidence of development.


III. Taking SDGs as an opportunity to tap new business model and growth momentum


Solving the sustainability problem and actively contributing to SDGs is beneficial for enterprises to explore new opportunities for their business. The integration of digital technology and traditional industries can not only provide new impetus for economic growth and promote new business forms, but also contribute to the realization of industry, innovation and infrastructure goals. In the pandemic, some traditional industries and enterprises are impacted seriously, while some Internet enterprises have gained new business opportunities after they shared and exported technologies to serve the real economy with distinctive business models. For example, the e-commerce platform launched deliver-to-home service, which strongly support the traditional fruits and vegetables market and reduce the impact of the pandemic on the real retail. Fresh Hema started the "sharing employees" mode, which greatly alleviated the contradiction between the supply and demand of human resources during the pandemic and realized the win-win cooperation among enterprises. 



IV. Integrating resources to promote the realization of partnerships for the goal


Compared with general enterprises, the upstream and downstream enterprises in relatively mature and responsible supply chain have higher anti-risk ability and capability of sustainable development. Those enterprises, through integrating resources and maintaining normal communication with partners, can promote responsible consumption and production and accelerate the realization of the partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). To cooperate with the upstream and downstream enterprises to fight against the pandemic, the "Sustainable Supply Chain Partner Network" initiated by Sinochem Group launched an initiative to its members and partners on February 11, calling on the partners in the supply chain to work together to overcome the difficulties.


V. Establishing an all-round sustainable development environment in the society


The important foundation of SDGs is the value pursuit and cultural consensus on sustainable development around the world. Since the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries worldwide are constantly internalizing the vision into national development plans and strategies. China launched China’s National Plan on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and China’s Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development firstly. In the process, enterprises play a critical role and they are practitioners and advocates. That is to say, enterprises need to standardize and innovate in their own sustainable business practices. In addition, they need to strengthen cooperation with the government, investors, industry associations, industry partners and other important stakeholders to promote the value chain, industry and community to pay attention to and participate in SDGs, advocate sustainable production, service, consumption and lifestyle, and then promote the establishment of an all-round sustainable development environment in the society.


We will win the battle against the pandemic, but the risk of sustainable development of human society will exist for a long time. How do enterprises deal with the next crisis and even turn it into an opportunity? It is crucial for enterprises to participate in and contribute to SDGs and promote their business growth through innovative solutions to the most important sustainable development problems in the world. Maybe only when enterprises come out of the wall of traditional management and market, comprehensively examine the relationship of the common destiny among themselves, society and human beings, and reshape the corporate strategy, management and operation mode with the concept of sustainable development can we find the right way to develop ourselves. 

(The full Chinese version is written by GoldenBee Task Force, if you want to see it, please click here)

(All the images are from the Internet)