Exploring how the ONS can work with businesses to measure the Sustainable Development Goals

Charting the UK’s progress towards measuring the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is a key undertaking for the Office for National Statistics. The range of data we are gathering extends well beyond the scope of our main statistical outputs. In this blog, Alex Lloyd reveals how her team at ONS is planning to use its specialist expertise to involve UK businesses in this global initiative.

We’ve talked quite a bit about the ONS and our role in reporting the data required by United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The goals cover a wide range of issues including gender equality, responsible consumption, innovation and the quality of education. These topics are high on the agenda – not just for Government and policymakers – but for commercial businesses too.

The public and customers are interested in how businesses demonstrate their performance in areas such as sustainability and diversity- showing with hard data that they are living these values.

You may have to publish your gender pay gap if you are a larger company. But what about showing you are reducing food waste or CO2 emissions?

That’s where my team may be able to help. There are several organisations that collect qualitative (statement-based) information on SDG related performance for businesses. However, we have not found many platforms that measure this performance quantitatively (numerically).

Thanks to recent Knowledge Assets Grant Funding awarded to our team, we have the opportunity to take forward initial research to understand what statistical guidance and specialist expertise businesses would need to support them in reporting SDGs data.

We are testing our ideas for the potential of a service to businesses where they could create and maintain their own versions of our Open SDG platform.

If you work for a business, could you help us by completing our 10-minute online survey? It will be live until 21st February 2022 and if you would like to get in touch directly, please contact us at sustainabledevelopment@ons.gov.uk.

Picture of Alex Lloyd is Sustainable Development Goals Branch Head at the ONS

Alex Lloyd is Sustainable Development Goals Branch Head at the ONS