Spanish companies ‘fail to back SDGs commitments with quantifiable metrics’

Little concrete backing among leading corporates

Just three of the 35 companies of Spain’s main stock index, the IBEX 35, have backed their public commitments to the Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with quantifiable and measurable metrics, according to a study published by the UN Global Compact Network Spain.

These three companies, or 8% of the index, contrast with the 74% of IBEX 35 companies that have declared a public commitment in annual reports, yet without explaining concrete steps to implement the UN goals.

The study, released at an event in Madrid to celebrate the second anniversary of the Agenda 2030, analyzed the sustainability reports of the IBEX 35 constituents to understand what goals are the focus of Spanish biggest corporates.

Isabel Garro, Founding Executive Director United Nations Global Compact Network Spain, called on the IBEX 35 companies to “be brave” and work on such metrics, as only “what gets measured, gets done”.

Garro also highlighted that none of the IBEX 35 companies have reported any training initiative to educate employees, management and company suppliers on SDGs, so she pledged that the UN Global Compact Network Spain would put in place programs in that respect.

The study also mentioned that 11 companies, 31% of the index, have included a correlation between the Global Reporting Initiative’s standards and reportable material aspects of the SDGs.Such a trend is observed at a time when the UNGC and the GRI have released a publication entitled “Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets” aimed at helping corporates to report on their impact on the SDGs in an effective and comparable way.

Similarly, the third edition of Spain’s SRI Observatory, published by shareholder consulting firm Georgeson and the Club for Excellence in Sustainability, recommended companies to incorporate measureable SDGs into their strategic plans.

During the opening remarks Fernando García Casas, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America, said the international agenda is widely imbued with the SDGs.

He said the goals are the response to the natural disasters fueled by climate change, to “a protectionism that doesn’t protect at all” and to the dehumanisation of migratory movements.

García Casas announced that an Inter-Ministerial High Level Group involving all government departments would be created to support the implementation of the SDGs. It has since been confirmed that it will be overseen by the foreign affairs minister.

Delivering the closing remarks, Juan Francisco Montalbán, Ambassador at Large for the Agenda 2030, said Spain is preparing the Voluntary National Review, a follow-up mechanism to address SDGs implementation, which will be published by July 2018.