This short framework for analysis and action offers a straightforward way for any company to work out how it should and can contribute to sustainable development.

What’s the current problem with the way some organizations are talking about business contributions to sustainable development – and what’s a better path forward?

1. The problem: misunderstanding the nature of respect for human rights

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are setting a new and increasingly accepted basis for companies to stake out a position on how they are responsible and sustainable.

Yet with 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 related targets, there is a risk that companies simply repackage what they already do in the wrapping of the SDGs, or focus on certain SDGs based on the ease, rather than the impact, of those choices. This is not to suggest that businesses should address all goals. Rather, we believe they need a principled process, that reflects international standards, to identify the SDGs through which they can maximize their contribution.

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