Accenture Strategy mapped the impacts of the pandemic to the targets and indicators underlying each of the SDGs. The conclusion: The pandemic poses severe near‑term challenges and hinders longer-term progress against all 17 goals. Stakeholders are demanding sustainable and responsible action from business.
All challenges present opportunities, however. Companies can proactively mitigate the risk of future crises, growing social unrest, and further disruptions to business by addressing these issues head-on.
Companies are realizing value from integrating sustainability into their operations and products. Between 2013 and 2020, companies with consistently high ratings for environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance have outperformed their peers, achieving operating margins 3.7x higher than lower ESG performers and generating 2.6x higher annual total returns to shareholders.