ESG in consumer goods: the relationship between financial materiality and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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2023-06-19
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Veludo-de-Oliveira, Tania
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Financially material, sustainability accounting is critical to catalyze private sector funds to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information within the consumer goods sector is regularly found to have a weaker relationship to the SDGs when compared to other sectors. In this essay, I discuss the roadmap for pairing Sustainable Account Standards Board (SASB) material indicators for the consumer goods sector to the SDGs indicators. SASB’s ESG framework is regarded as industry best-in-class and is supported by investors with over US$81T in assets under management (AUM). The goal of this exercise is to identify weak and strong linkages between the SASB ESG framework and the SDG indicators, through an analysis of SASB’s 7 different consumer sector industry frameworks with the 248 UN SDG indicators. The results identified SDGs that remain unaddressed or have weak linkages to industry interpretations of consumer sector ESG materiality. Understanding the overlaps and gaps between public and private sector impact frameworks will enable greater cross-sector collaboration, and help companies align or better understand their impact and ESG strategy that not only mitigates risk, but creates long-term value that aligns to the goals and initiatives of community stakeholders and public sector institutions.


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