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Lost in Translation? An assessment of the SDGs as a basis for private sector action: A case study of palm oil

Campbell, KT; (2019) Lost in Translation? An assessment of the SDGs as a basis for private sector action: A case study of palm oil. (IGP Working Paper Series ). UCL Institute for Global Prosperity: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

This desk study forms part of the preparatory work for a PhD on investor engagement with companies on corporate responsibility issues, taken as those framed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs outline ambitions widely accepted as improving the prosperity of populations in both developed and developing countries. Looking at these goals in greater detail however highlights the difficulty in matching the government-designed indicators of success to points of articulation with responsible corporate behaviour. This study looks at one example of an agricultural supply chain – palm oil - to illustrate the challenges involved in engaging a commercial industry with the SDGs using recent academic sources. It concludes that while at the icon level the goals do indicate targets and considerations for new or amended business models, they are too often short on detail with indicators that are descriptive rather than prescriptive. As a consequence private sector engagement will have to be flanked by the development (or reinforcement) of other standard-setting institutions to endorse that these changes are both desirable and credible. This will involve the co-operation of a wide array of stakeholders, a topic which will be the subject of further IGP research.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Lost in Translation? An assessment of the SDGs as a basis for private sector action: A case study of palm oil
ISBN-13: 978-1-913041-04-5
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14324/000.wp.10081005
Publisher version: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/igp/research/public...
Language: English
Additional information: Sustainable Development Goals, private sector, corporate responsibility, stakeholders, palm oil
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081005
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