SDGs were discussed twice as much in company ESG reports in 2020–2021 compared to 2018–2019, finds GlobalData

Mentions of various Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations have been steadily increasing in companies’ environment, social, and governance (ESG) reports since 2016, with SDG 8 and SDG 13 having the most mentions in the past two years, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that companies from the financial services (FS) sector had the most mentions around SDGs in 2021.

GlobalData’s Company Filing Analytics database finds that during 2020–2021, the 17 global goals were collectively discussed twice (110% growth) as much compared to 2018–2019. SDG 8 focused on “decent work and economic growth” and 13 focused on “climate action” had nearly 24% of the total mentions during 2020–2021.

Rinaldo Pereira, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Investors are altering their approach around funding companies with less or no impetus on SDGs, which has impacted how companies are now viewing ESG. The rise in discussions over the last two years compared to 2019 and 2018 suggests that companies are seeking to impress investors. GlobalData’s Company Filing Analytics database identified a significant year-on-year jump in the number of firms mentioning ‘Investment’ around ‘SDG’ in 2020, followed by a rise in the last year as well. According to GlobalData, companies that embrace all aspects of ESG action will outperform their peers.”

Companies from the FS sector had the most mentions around SDGs in 2021, accounting for nearly 20% of the mentions. At the same time, smaller companies with a market capitalization of $5 billion to $20 billion had the most SDG discussions, with over 30% of the mentions in 2021.

Pereira adds: “The increasing amount of mentions in the FS sector is indicative of companies or investors looking at respective ESG goals and responsible funding. Furthermore, smaller market cap companies having more mentions of SDGs doesn’t necessarily imply that large cap ones have a lesser ESG focus. It simply points to smaller companies wanting to shape up as responsibly as larger ones.”

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