A new survey of more than 26,000 individuals from 174 countries aiming to measure global leaders’ depth of engagement with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 has found that fewer than half of survey respondents are aware of these SDGs. The survey also found that respondents’ regions were a factor in the relative importance they gave to climate change in their lives.
The survey was conducted by Schlange & Co. and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), in partnership with the Global Network for Advanced Management, and with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Nature Conservancy, and Nuclear Safety. Final survey results are an aggregate of three separate surveys targeting three disparate groups: a global survey open to any respondent around the world; a survey of students from the 30 business schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management; and a survey of preselected panels of respondents.
“Our partnership with the Global Network for Advanced Management was critical in making this report a possibility,” said Todd Cort, faculty co-director at CBEY and lecturer in sustainability at the Yale School of Management. “We hope these results will provide insights into collaboration models and how business schools can incorporate SDGs into their discourse and curriculum, creating change and leading toward peace and prosperity for the planet.”
Among the survey’s key findings:
- “Quality education and good health were consistently ranked as top priorities. Climate action was also a top priority, but showed more regional variability,” with respondents in North America and Europe ranking it higher, and respondents in South America and Africa viewing it as a lower priority.
- “There was a significant divide along gender and regional lines when assessing the importance of gender equity,” with 31.3% of women respondents identifying gender equity among their top six immediate concerns compared to 15% of men respondents.
- “In response to the question, ‘Who do you expect to push forward the implementation of the SDGs in your country,’ respondents most frequently noted government as the expected agent of change.” The private sector, research institutions and NGOs, closely follow, indicating the importance of collaboration among these.
- “Behavior and concern for sustainability is primarily reflected in respondents’ short-term consumer transactions and voting.”