ESG Topics

Key environmental, social and governance topics

Global ESG Topics

The most commonly used global sustainability framework is the United Nation-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda and serves as a global framework for achieving critical goals and targets towards sustainable development.

In its 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report states that:

Our world as we know it and the future we want are at risk.

Much more needs to happen – and quickly – to bring about the transformative changes that are required. Adding to the concern is the fact that recent trends along several dimensions with cross-cutting impacts across the entire 2030 Agenda are not even moving in the right direction.

Four in particular fall into that category: rising inequalities, climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing amounts of waste from human activity that are overwhelming capacities to process them.

Critically, recent analysis suggests that some of those negative trends presage a move towards the crossing of negative tipping points, which would lead to dramatic changes in the conditions of the Earth system in ways that are irreversible on time scales meaningful for society.

The Future is Now – Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, (United Nations, New York, 2019).

The Global Sustainable Development Report identifies six “entry points” that offer the most promise for achieving the desired transformations at the necessary scale and speed globally:

  • Human well-being and capabilities
  • Sustainable and just economies
  • Food systems and nutrition patterns
  • Energy decarbonization with universal access
  • Urban and peri-urban development

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