Topic 2 SDG Compass as Guideline for CSR

  • CSR refers to corporate responsibility for the impact of corporate activities on society and the environment, i.e. sustainability
  • SDG Compass provides guidance for companies on how they can align their strategies as well as measure and manage their contribution to the realization of the SDGs.
  • Developed by GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the SDG Compass incorporates feedback received through three consultation periods from companies, government agencies, academic institutions and civil society organizations worldwide.
  • Focus on large multinational enterprises, but small and medium enterprises and other organizations are also encouraged to use it as a source of inspiration and adapt as necessary.
  • 01 Understanding the SDGs: As a first step, companies are assisted in familiarizing themselves with the SDGs.
  • 02 Defining priorities: To seize the most important business opportunities presented by the SDGs and reduce risks, companies are encouraged to define their priorities based on an assessment of their positive and negative, current and potential impact on the SDGs across their value chains.
  • 03 Setting goals: Goal setting is critical to business success and helps foster shared priorities and better performance across the organization. By aligning company goals with the SDGs, the leadership can demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development.
  • 04 Integrating: Integrating sustainability into the core business and governance, and embedding sustainable development targets across all functions within the company, is key to achieving set goals. To pursue shared objectives or address systemic challenges, companies increasingly engage in partnerships across the value chain, within their sector or with governments and civil society organizations.
  • 05 Reporting and communicating: The SDGs enable companies to report information on sustainable development performance using common indicators and shared set of priorities. The SDG Compass encourages companies to build the SDGs into their communication and reporting with stakeholders.

reference to Module 1 – understanding the business case and baseline responsibilities for business

  • Mapping the SDGs against the value chain

Source picture: SDG Compass Guide


  • Select indicators

Inventory of existing indicators:

Source picture: SDG Compass Guide


  • The Logic Model to decide which data to collect

Source picture: SDG Compass Guide

  • Map sustainability risks as a basis for decision-making

Source picture: self made


When segmenting suppliers, these criteria, among others, must be taken into account:

  • Risks to society: e.g. where are the greatest risks in the supply chain with regard to human rights, labor standards, the environment and ethics?
  • Risks to the company: e.g. what risks in the supply chain could affect the company’s operations and are contrary to the company’s sustainability goals?
  • Risk to economic development: e.g. to what extent is there a risk that the introduction of a code of conduct and monitoring and auditing requirements will exclude small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the supply chain?

Reference to Module 3, unit 3, topic 2: how to measure social impact

Source picture: SDG Compass Guide

  • Define scope of goals and select KPIs
  • Define baseline and select goal type
  • Set level of ambition
  • Announce commitment to SDGs
  • Anchoring sustainability goals within the business
  • Embed sustainability across all functions
  • Engage in partnerships
  • Effective reporting and communications
  • Communicating on SDG performance
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