KPIs to Measure for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Achieving any of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) entails defining benchmarks that organizations can use to set relevant goals. Data and analytics can pave the way for businesses to accomplish them.

Sustainability makes good business sense, which is why many organizations are adding it to their corporate strategy. However, many underestimate the strategic effort needed to align these sustainability-driven initiatives to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many companies also often don’t know where and how to start.

Using established references, we created a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) to help companies understand their social impact, set goals and benchmarks, and track areas for improvement. Our downloadable guide lists companywide targets and data points that can be used as starting points for supporting sustainability programs.

We previously discussed the first nine SDGs and the targets, metrics, and KPIs that companies can track and analyze. Here, we’ll delve into the rest of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Sample targets:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination and inclusiveness in operations and products.

  • Provide equal renumeration and social securities for men and women.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Number and percentage of employee hires by age group, gender, and region.

  • Percentage of employee diversity (e.g., gender, age groups, minority or underrepresented).

  • Ratio of salary and renumeration of men and women for each employment category and location where the company or its business unit operates.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Sample targets:

  • Address the impact of operations on employees, neighboring communities and its people, and the environment.

  • Responsibly manage natural disaster risks and understand their impact on.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Investment (in currency) in water and sanitation, renewable energy, telecommunications, and transportation.

  • Number of individuals with improved access to affordable housing.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Sample targets:

  • Adopt circular business models for products and services.

  • Implement sustainable procurement, obtain ecolabels and certifications, and adopt the same principles to suppliers and other third parties.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Weight and volume (in tons) of renewable and nonrenewable materials used to produce and package products.

  • Percentage of recycled inputs used to manufacture products.

  • Hazardous and nonhazardous waste (in tons) broken down into disposal methods.

Goal 13: Climate Action

Sample targets:

  • Invest in technologies that protect and strengthen the company (and communities where it operates) against environmental hazards.

  • Disclose information on emissions and set targets to reduce them.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Yearly comparisons of the company’s Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions, in metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

  • Fuel consumption from nonrenewable and renewable sources in joules (J) or multiples

  • Consumption in electricity, heating, and cooling, and energy consumption outside the company in J, watt-hours (Wh), or multiples

Goal 14: Life Below Water

Sample targets:

  • Track, report, and address the impact of business activities on marine biodiversity.

  • Establish traceability, ensure sustainable practices in the supply chain, and obtain aquaculture and food safety certifications.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Liters of planned and unplanned water discharges by quality and destination.

  • Percentage of habitat areas protected and restored through sustainability initiatives.

Goal 15: Life on Land

Sample targets:

  • Responsibly manage waste from chemicals used in operations and address their negative impact on soil, wildlife, and food chains.

  • Improve the use of forest-related resources, obtain sustainable forest management certifications, and invest in technologies that responsibly use natural resources.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Percentage of forest-related raw materials used for production and consumption.

  • Percentage of procurement spend on forest commodities.

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Sample targets:

  • Evaluate the impact of business decisions on investment, employment, communities, and environment.

  • Report breaches of customer privacy, antitrust violations, and incidents of noncompliance.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Percentage of suppliers screened with economic, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

  • Fines (in currency) and number of nonmonetary sanctions for noncompliance with environmental laws and data regulations.

Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals

Sample targets:

  • Empower domestic businesses to access international markets and provide linkages with global value chains.

  • Disclose information on the company’s sustainability efforts.

Sample data that can tracked and analyzed:

  • Number of joint development programs that the company participated in.

  • Number of multistakeholder initiatives that the company is a part of

Achieving sustainability means knowing the business’s impact and purpose, but it needs the right data and technologies to act on them. Having analytics and business intelligence capabilities can help organizations be more proactive, holistic, transparent, and accountable in their business decision-making.

Tracking and Measuring Sustainability Targets and KPIs

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