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“Leaving no one behind” – How are we doing on the SDGs? 

One of the most important promises in the SDGs is to leave no one behind. Yet according to a new Measuring Up 2.0 report from UN Global Compact (UNGC) we are doing just that. So, what do we know about how we as a nation are getting on with the progressing towards these Goals that we have signed up for – and what’s the link to the social value agenda? 

These are only some of the questions some of our members are asking us about, so with the new report written by UNGC and its stakeholders, we thought it would be a good time to share some insights and thoughts of ours to support our members. 

First up, what are the SDGs? 

In the early 2010s, the leaders of the world, including businesses, civil society, heads of government and others sat down at the UN table to discuss. It was time to make a plan. The consensus was that we are not living in a world that is sustainable, equal, peaceful for all. So, what can we do to make that happen? The answer become the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which consists of 17 interconnected Goals and 169 targets that Governments all across the world – including the UK – have signed up to work with, in order to strive this sustainable future we want for all and they include 169 Targets to be worked on both domestically and internationally. Importantly, it’s not just goals for the Government to tackle, they’ve came from a multi-stakeholder collaboration and they are all ours to take action towards. More information here.

How are we doing in the UK? 

The UK has as so many other countries been faced by challenges with the covid pandemic, as well as government crisis, Brexit, etc. It’s a tough time for the country and that is coming through in the lack of progress; with gaps in policy or inadequate performance by the UK on 64% of the UK Goals and Targets, and the UK only performing well on 17% of these, according to the Measuring Up 2.0 report. It provides examples, such as, the performance against Target 2.1 that seeks to end hunger and ensure that people have access to safe and nutritious food all year round, has worsened with the number of emergency food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust having continually increased, up to 2.1 million in 2021/22. In the report’s launch event on 28 Sept in London, a presentation by Barbara Cleary and the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations as main author of the review of SDG 5 (Gender Equality), explained how some of the partial but encouraging progress of the 2018’s report on areas such as gender pay gap, had simply not been followed by sufficient action to tackle systemic work/family related issues and inequalities in our UK societies, which in combination with the pandemic has led to increased inequalities, incl. intensified violence against women – and not a single of the Goal’s Targets have been considered to have been met with good performance by the UK.  

But as the report outlines big challenges and makes a shoutout for increased governmental leadership and stakeholder engagement, it’s launch event also praised action of those many businesses and civil society organisations that has taken this to the hearts – and then strategies and actions. Examples of progress on SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals) include how Tesco and WWF teamed up on a project to reduce the carbon footprint of a shopping basket – and successfully did so. The report also praise work by the Living Wage Foundation and organisations that voluntarily sign up to pay a living wage calculated on the real cost of living instead of the lower minimal wage mandated by the Government. 

And this is the kind of good news and case studies that we’re seeing mirrored in the activities of our Social Value UK members’ work too. 

SDGs and Social Value 

There’s a shared understanding of people being core to both the SDGs and social value, with the Goal’s promise to ”leaving no one behind” and our Principle and in particular Principle 1 makes a call out to engage your stakeholders.  

Also in the objectives we’re similar, with the SDG agenda for a sustainable future and our mission is to “change the way we account for value” – to ultimately reduce environmental degradation, inequality and enhance wellbeing. These are clearly overlapping, and we need to promote the examples and discuss the practice to ensure we do indeed meet our objectives. 

On this topic, Social Value International has had a partnership with UNDP and have been supporting the development of the new SDG Impact Standards that help businesses and investors align their work to meaningful, impactful and measurable impact towards the Goals. 

But there are many others working to align the agendas and we’d like to share more on these developments to support people in learning, debating and discussing what more we can or should do, which is why we have dedicated our next Private Sectoral Conference to explore the SDGs and Social Value

We hope to see you there – so don’t forget to get your ticket! On Early Bird rate until Wednesday 19th October 2022. 

We like to work alongside our members on all our events. If you are interested in contributing to or sponsoring this event, please read about opportunities here or get in touch with  or

Posted 10th October 2022

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