The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the shared pillars between most countries on which a sustainable world should be build. In September 2015 in Paris, the majority of the countries in the world signed these 17 goals and with that committed to a shared vision of sustainable development. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. With that, it is the most ground-breaking agreement around sustainability so far within the international arena.
Even though the establishment of the SDGs was a historic achievement, there is still a big knowledge gap between government institutions, companies and citizens. Most people have never heard of the SDGs or do not know which 17 goals actually exist. A research by the OECD in 2017 (OECD, DevCom, 2017) shows that only 28% of the global population know what the SDGs are. When zooming in on Europe, the percentage is 36%. This data shows that the knowledge level among citizens is still in need of a strong push.
As the SDGs form the common framework for sustainability, the goals have also been included in the research of Sustainable Brand Index. Sustainable Brand Index is the largest brand study on sustainability and consumer perception, that is being conducted in the Nordics & The Netherlands every year. The SDGs have been made an integral part of the definition of sustainability throughout the research. By presenting respondents with the 17 SDGs, consumers are also asked which goals they thing companies should prioritise.
When looking at the results of the 2018 Sustainable Brand Index, interesting patterns can be discovered.
It appears that number 12, Responsible Consumption & Production, is the winner in all Nordic countries countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark & Finland) . This is the SDG that consumers think is most important for companies to address today.
When zooming in on The Netherlands, Goal number 3, Good Health and Well-Being, is the winner. This is the goal that Dutch consumers think is most important for companies to address today. Goal 13 about Climate Action comes in as the goal that is second most important to address, and Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production comes in as number three.
Some interesting changes in consumer opinions about the SDGs can be seen compared to last year. Notably, goal number 8, Decent Work & Economic Growth, has decreased the most in importance in all countries but the Netherlands and Sweden. This year, an interesting rise in importance can be seen around goal 14 Life below Water and goal 10 Reduced Inequalities.
These insights into consumer perception of the SDGs are important for further implementing the SDGs and living up to its targets. The differences between countries and over time are also extremely relevant for companies and governments to understand market development and knowledge levels.
Download the free official report of Sustainable Brand Index 2018, to review al data on the SDGs and consumer perception.
OECD, DevCom, 2017: