Unraveling the Complex Impact of Corporations on the SDGs: A New Evidence-Based Review Method

Using scientific principles to create a strategy for investing in sector-level Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

As investors, there has long been a desire to align investments with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, evaluating the impact of corporations on these goals remains challenging. Many current efforts lack depth and transparency. In response, researchers have proposed a new evidence-based review method for assessing sector-level impacts on individual SDGs.

The study assigns scores using a traffic-light system, analyzing the effects of 81 economic sectors on SDGs 1-16. The results show that most economic sectors have a negative impact on environmental SDGs, with primary sector activities impacting the highest number of SDGs. For example, using the agricultural sector as a case study, the authors demonstrate how spillover effects result from interactions between different SDGs. This highlights the importance of understanding ‘impact shadows,’ or how one goal influences another, and the hierarchical nature of sustainable development objectives for investment strategies.

Overall, this research emphasizes that investors must consider the broader effects of their investments on the SDGs. By taking into account how different sectors influence multiple goals, investors can make more informed and responsible decisions that contribute to sustainable development objectives.

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