Only 18% of UK SMEs are aware of the UN sustainable development goals

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New YouGov research has revealed only 18% of UK SMEs are aware of the UN sustainable development goals (SDG), despite making up 99% of all UK organisations.

The research, which was commissioned by business improvement and standards company BSI, also shows that 54% of large businesses in the UK, organisations with over 250 employees, are unaware of the SDGs. Hospitality and leisure, education, and media/comms/sales were revealed as the lowest scoring industries in terms of awareness.

Manufacturing, medical and health services, and IT and telecoms scored the highest in the report.

The report shows that start-up businesses have more awareness than comparable established businesses, and younger workforces are more aware than their older counterparts.

Global Head of Sustainability Solutions for BSI’s Assurance business, Murray Sayce, said: “This data, which also shows that almost 40% of organisations have no established sustainability goals, indicates a massive knowledge and implementation gap that needs to be filled.

“We know that most businesses want to do the right thing, indeed 72% consider it important to work with sustainable supply chains and 47% actively work with independently verified sustainable suppliers. But they need more guidance on how to set sustainability related targets and how to achieve them.”

In an attempt to raise awareness of the SDGs, the BSI has launched a sustainability evaluator tool to assist organisations in assessing and evaluating progress on their sustainability journeys. BSI says the tool, which can be accessed for free, provides helpful insight into how organisations can make progress towards their sustainability goals.

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