A growing number of companies claim to follow the UN's global sustainability goals. A new Mistra Carbon Exit study shows that there is a risk that companies rather greenwash their activities by focusing only on goals where they are already performing well. Effective climate mitigation and a sustainable restart of the economy require companies to set long term goals that stick to the Paris Agreement and include the entire value chain.
In the study the researchers has analyzed previous studies, as well as common methods used by companies to assess how they can contribute to the SDG:s. They also conducted a case study for the construction sector. The review shows that:
There is thus a significant risk that some companies use concepts that breathe the UN's sustainability goals only to camouflage that business continues just as usual, the researchers write in the debate article.
According to the study, if companies want to achieve real change towards sustainability and contribute to the UN's climate goals, three things are required:
The debate article is written by Filip Johnsson, professor of sustainable energy systems, Chalmers University of Technology, Anders Ahlbäck, project manager, Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development, Mathias Gustavsson, researcher at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Ida Karlsson, doctoral student, Chalmers University of Technology and Johan Rootzén, researcher at School of Business, University of Gothenburg.
The study is open access and can be found here. It is conducted within the Mistra Carbon Exit program.