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Which SDGs matter to you?

Prioritising the SDGs
globe in door of office building
How do you know which SDG matters most to you or your organisation? Where are the opportunities for contribution?

Not all 17 SDGs will be equally relevant for you or your organisation. The responsibility you bear, the extent to which you or your organisation can contribute to each, and the risks and opportunities they individually represent, will depend on many factors.

Taking a strategic approach to the SDGs, your first task should be to conduct an assessment on the current, potential, positive and negative impacts that you and your organisational activities have on the SDGs. You can assess this as an individual or throughout the organisation’s operations and supply chain. This will help you identify where positive impacts can be scaled up and where negative impacts can be reduced or avoided.

The Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the leading organisation offering guidance about how businesses and other organisations can assess and report on their social impact. Under GRI’s G4/Standards material issues are the topics considered important for “reflecting the organization’s economic, environmental and social impacts” or “influencing the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.”

The GRI states there should be a strong link between materiality and strategy, though the guidance is focused on what to report on, not what the strategy should be. Sometimes what is most “material” from a reporting standpoint may differ from what gets prioritized in a new strategy. This is because the sustainability report is largely backward looking, whereas the strategy is largely forward-looking. That said, engaging stakeholders for materiality can be a single exercise, you may wish to keep the insights informing your report separate from those informing your strategy.

© RMIT 2023
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