In the ongoing fight against climate change, businesses everywhere are doing what they can to help reduce their carbon footprints and shift to more sustainable options. However, not all companies are immediately capable of bringing in experts and making the shift to environmentally and socially responsible alternatives.

Despite this, enterprises of all sizes can still do their part without having to sacrifice their resources. By aligning their business strategy with sustainable development goals, even small businesses can redirect their resources and reposition their goals to be more responsible in the global fight for the environment. To get your planning sessions started, here are a few steps to align business strategies with SDGs.

1. Understand the paradigm and identify points of association

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize sustainability as not just a passing trend among businesses but a collaborative effort between everyone-one that has a lasting impression on the following generations. Understanding sustainable development goals will familiarize you with its different specific targets and indicators, and find which of these goals your company can adopt in its short- and long-term business strategy.

In fact, corporate sustainability management refers to the effort of finding where business and sustainability meet. Adopting this means that you set attainable goals that make a positive impact on three main areas: the people, the profit, and the planet. This way, you can ensure your environmentally-positive business growth without leaving anyone behind.

Reducing plastic waste in your business
How to align business strategy with sustainability goals: businesses everywhere are doing what they can to help reduce their carbon footprints and shift to more sustainable options.

2. Set goals and priorities

After identifying points at which your organization can start pursuing sustainable options, it’s time to set your goals and how to prioritize them. Business strategies should identify which of these SDGs are possible for your company in the short term and which of them needs to be gradually achieved in the long run. This doesn’t mean that you need to scrap your existing targets and create new ones that are targeted towards environmental and social responsibility.

The real challenge is in identifying goals and priorities that are aligned with your existing business targets. This requires a thorough understanding of your company’s historical data to help inform your decisions moving forward. For example, you can maximize the use of your data to see opportunities on reducing carbon, based on available emission and energy consumption information.

By setting goals based on reliable historical data, you can further specify which SDGs are easily attainable for you and your organization and which of them will require additional time and resources to achieve. More often than not, your company already has existing initiatives, projects, and plans underway that can be leveraged as you develop sustainable business strategies.

How To Align Business Strategy With Sustainability Goals
How to align business strategy with sustainability goals: the real challenge is in identifying goals and priorities about sustainability that are aligned with your existing business targets.

3. Integrate them into existing business processes

Provided that your goals and priorities are clearly defined, you can now start strategizing on how to integrate these targets into all levels of the business. SDGs become a recurring theme from procurement, research and development, marketing, production, and even ongoing studies of your current business model.

It doesn’t call for drastic measures most of the time, too. Usually, you can start with minor changes as you introduce new tools, concepts, and approaches to existing business processes. By monitoring the effects of each change introduced, you and your team can better identify additional opportunities for accelerating or improving your existing strategies. One example is when global healthcare leader Novo Nordisk teamed up with Washington and Lee University to analyze the correlation between the pharma’s current programs and their identified SDGs, presenting their findings in an interactive chart as well as its annual integrated reporting.

4. Seek out partners

Since the fight against climate change is a global cooperative effort between nations, businesses, organizations, and individuals, it’s not surprising that collaboration is a key effort in making this work on different levels. As a business entity, it is advisable to team up with suppliers, customers, or similar companies in the industry that share the same goals.

There is a wide range of potential partners: from fellow businesses, nonprofit organizations, to the local and national governments. Multiple governments around the world are launching programs and initiatives that incentivize the efforts of private entities, even small and mid-size businesses, to take on sustainability goals within their respective organizations. Collaborating with other entities not only allows you to bring in additional ideas and resources as you commit to business strategy alignment efforts, but a collaborator can also check your progress similar to an external audit of sorts.

5. Document and communicate

Like any other business effort, documentation is vital for the program and the company’s posterity. It will inform your business strategy plans and decisions moving forward. More importantly, it is better to be able to integrate the documentation and reporting process into relevant and existing business processes.

By documenting and communicating your progress and findings to the relevant stakeholders, you can avoid duplicating efforts and maintain transparency. Furthermore, proper documentation ensures that all your efforts remain accessible to other interested parties should they choose to examine or use it as a reference for other similar strategies.


With the right preparation, any company can meaningfully align its business strategy with specific and attainable sustainability goals. The steps listed above are only general reminders on what to remember in doing so, implementing them in your organization will always require more detailed plans to ensure that you achieve growth without sacrificing people, profit, and the planet.

Chatty Garrate

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