The UN's Sustainable Development Goals as driver for businesses to create value through sustainability: A study of implementing SDGs strategically into businesses

Benjamin Truels Hansen & Caroline Danielsen Larsen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


In September 2015, the UN vowed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, which marked an agenda to achieve a set of important social priorities worldwide. When introducing the SDGs, it was the first time the role of businesses was emphasized in achieving the global development agenda, with a new focus on purpose, conception and political process, and with the SGDs 17 goals and 169 targets, UN set out a broader agenda that included environmental, social and economic sustainability. Since the launch of the SDGs, they have increasingly become a common global language for sustainability and businesses have implemented the goals as a part of their sustainability agendas.
This thesis aims to contribute towards understanding how companies can utilize the UN SDGs as driver to create value through sustainability, based on existing literature and our case company.
We argue that the SDGs provide a comprehensive reference framework for which the many issues of sustainable development should be considered essential, and that companies have a unique opportunity to use the SDGs as a framework to improve their sustainability engagement in line with changing societal expectations. However, the SDGs are not easily translated into concrete business practices, due to the scope of the goals and targets. For businesses to work with SDGs, we thereby argue that a more specific approach is necessary. To achieve a framework that companies can work with proactively, the thesis provides a tangible approach to align business strategies with the SDGs. Our case study has both intrinsic and instrumental interests, and the case company plays a supportive role to our theoretical interest of the development of SGDs in the evolution of CSR.
This thesis provides a conceptual framework as the synthesis of how the SDG phenomenon can be explained, based on the analyzed literature and empirical findings, and map the conceptualized steps needed for companies to create value through sustainability by incorporating SDGs into their value chain. The conceptual framework is our perception of how the variables in this study connect with each other, and we argue that our framework can deliver on the SDGs, if the implementers have a strategic and effective vision of how to innovatively adapt the lessons from the framework to their own specific contexts.

Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creating Shared Value, Sustainable Development, Corporate Sustainability.

UddannelserVirksomhedsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2019
Antal sider100
VejledereJacob Dahl Rendtorff & Søren Stig Lommer