1. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals stocktake. The United Nations Global Compact has collaborated with Accenture to produce a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stocktake to go alongside the UN’s first global climate progress report. Some of the key findings are as follows:

  • 94% of respondents agreed with the visions of the SDGs, but just 49% felt they are achievable in the next seven years.
  • 81% of leaders think their businesses are adequately contributing to the SDGs, but only 48% believe the private sector as a whole is doing enough.
  • 44% of the people surveyed felt that governments were the key stakeholders who needed to take action on the SDGs before businesses.

Despite the belief that governments hold the reins, businesses can take action by providing a living wage, improving working conditions, and promoting gender equality. They can also undertake meaningful climate action without waiting for policy incentives, improve water infrastructure, invest in circularity, and focus on protecting biodiversity. Committing to sustainable financing solutions and bringing in leadership with strong sustainability track records will help. 

For more detailed information on what steps businesses can take and a breakdown of the stocktake goal by goal, please find the full report here.

2. Is corporate gender parity on the horizon? S&P Global’s Breaking Boundaries report shares a number of insights on women in the workplace. In an analysis of over 7000 American companies listed in the Russell 3000, the firm concluded that women could achieve gender parity in leadership positions between 2030 and 2037. Just under 10% of board and C-suite positions of Russell 3000 companies were held by women in 2010, but by 2021 that number had jumped to 21.9%. Additionally, boardrooms are achieving gender equality much faster than C-suites. 

3. Impact investing gaining popularity over ESG integration. According to BNP Paribas’ ESG Global Survey 2023, 41% of respondents shared that commitment to net zero is a high priority. A growing number of organisations plan to focus on impact investing, as 54% of organisations expect to implement it by 2025 while 51% are integrating ESG data into investment management. Nearly half of respondents shared that their organisations were prioritising active ownership, stating it would be a key ESG objective by 2025. 71% of respondents agreed that data quality was a significant issue as investors point to inconsistent and incomplete ESG data. 

4. European countries increase corporate taxes. With cost of living crises raging around the world, governments are scrambling to ease the financial burden. Last month, Italy announced a one-time corporate profit tax for banks who have profited from interest rate hikes to redistribute that wealth. Other European countries are introducing or extending existing corporate taxes to fund relief measures for housing, high energy prices, and more. Spain, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have all either announced new taxes or expanded existing ones. Most of these new taxes have only applied to energy, banking, groceries, and pharmaceutical industries but may be expanded to other sectors at any moment. 

5. Institutional investors ask for renewable energy policy incentives. A coalition of investors that collectively manages more than US$11 trillion called on governments to streamline clean energy investments. The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance published a paper that showed that the economic transition to net zero could create nearly US$275 trillion in green technology opportunities by mid-century. This paper also finds that a lack of investment in infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations and outdated electrical grids hamper the energy transition significantly. Finally, the alliance proposed solutions such as government subsidies, tax credits, and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. 

Ira Srivastava is Competent Boards’ Program Coordinator. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.

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