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New Risks are Human

Challenge for “Stakeholder Capitalism”: New report shows significant SDG risks around human factors.

A new report has been launched on 21th of January which highlights significant risks for companies when it comes to decent work, job security and working conditions. Although climate change and climate action still attract significant levels of coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the highest risk potential are revealed to be the human ones.

The “New Risks are Human” report can be set against the background of WEF’s manifesto on Stakeholder Capitalism, the focus of this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos. This new Report engages with its core themes by suggesting that the world’s largest companies face considerable risk in handling their employees as key stakeholders.

The Report - produced by Leidar - calls for a holistic approach to sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). It goes on to flag the need for full corporate engagement with the external landscape and other participants.

The findings in the Report represent the results of multi-year intelligence (2016-2019) drawn from the universe of publicly available unstructured data available online and in social media. Leveraging Polecat’s advanced analytics platform, the results provide insight into SDG-related discourse in relation to over a thousand of the world’s largest public and private companies – the Polecat Global 1000 Index - across multiple sectors.

The Report highlights an issue with the way companies incorporate the SDGs. Many of them create their own approaches towards the framework and even redefine the targets to suit their corporate agenda. Given the stringent requirements these organisations face, this can lead to accusations of “SDG-washing”. When called out by the key civil society players, this can have strong negative reputational consequences and end up being truly counterproductive.

Presenting the Report, the author Dr Lukasz Bochenek, MD of international strategy at Leidar, commented: “These findings point towards the need for companies to re-think their approach to sustainability completely and move from reporting and quantitative approaches towards more human-centred strategic narratives and engagement. Stakeholder Capitalism may be a good idea, but businesses seem to have a lot of work to do to make it a sustainable concept.

James Lawn, co-founder and co-CEO of Polecat, said: “Sustainability and ESG performance increasingly defines corporate reputation and licence to operate. Globally, companies and CEOs are calling out for better intelligence to enable them to understand the fast-changing landscape of risk and opportunity. Our data points to the imperative for more joined-up thinking and partnerships to achieve systemic progress on the SDGs, as well as revealing a step change in expectations of leading business when it comes to climate action and addressing the pressures of life on land.”  

The Report is available here.

About Leidar

Leidar is an international advocacy, branding and communication consultancy. We help clients set their course, navigate an increasingly complex world and communicate effectively with stakeholders. www.leidar.com

About Polecat

Polecat is a global technology company. Our software interrogates the universe of global discourse to deliver real-time actionable intelligence for business. Our results ensure Board-level confidence, competitive advantage, strategic insight and reputation leadership. www.polecat.com