A new handbook, created by and for the Australian market, is helping companies get a leg up aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and turn them into meaningful strategies.

Coinciding with COP26, demand is strong amongst businesses for clear guidance on how to progress ESG outcomes, with over 300 attendees taking part in a virtual launch this week.

The handbook was created with guidance from leading ESG practitioners in Australia and produced by the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Victoria and business consultancy Spark Strategy.

More than 20 businesses, government authorities, universities and community sector organisations provided input, including tips and advice to help organisations wanting to get started and those looking to build on what they have done so far.

According to Transurban head of sustainability, Matthew Brennan, his company decided to integrate the SDGs in their organization’s strategy in part to attract great people.

“The SDGs allow us to align our business to our people and ensure the success of our business going forward as it’s so vital for attracting new talent these days,” Mr Brennan said.

Opera House acting head of diversity, inclusion and belonging, Anna Yanatchkova said the Sydney landmark appreciated the clear guide the SDGs have offered to help anchor their ESG approach.

“What the global goals have given us is this overarching unifying framework and it has linked these environmental and social goals with our overarching mission,” she said.  

ESG practitioner contributors to the guide included Anna Yanatchkova, acting head of diversity, inclusion and belonging, Sydney Opera House, Mindy Leow, head of community building, B Lab Australia and New Zealand, Matthew Brennan, head of sustainability, Transurban, Catherine Brown, chief executive, Lord Mayor’s charitable foundation, and Kiam Yoong, senior manager environmental sustainability, Zoos Victoria.

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