Assessing sustainable development goals implementation at the business level: evidence from leading european banks
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflect grand challenges the global community needs to address if we are to ensure economic welfare, environmental quality as well as social cohesion and prosperity for future generations. In this respect, the role of the Banking Sector, among other critical business entities and key stakeholders, is vital. The purpose of this paper is to examine the reported performance of banks over SDG endorsement, by employing a comparative assessment methodology relying on the well-established indicators of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) disclosed in stand-alone sustainability reports. Focusing on a small sample of leading European Banks in terms of sustainability management, we find that they disclose low contribution to SDGs in their reports along with considerably heterogeneous contribution to each SDGs. The most comprehensively reported SDGs tend to be linked to existing bank strategies while the critical importance of GRI indicators with multifaceted impact across several SDGs seem to be overlooked. The paper highlights managerial implications in terms of effectively improving reported SDG performance along with future research perspectives on SDG monitoring and performance appraisal within the enterprise.