Sector associations can play a leading role in reaching SDGs


CSR Europe and PwC conducted a research on how European sector associations work with their members on reaching SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Sector associations have an important role to play in helping their members understand the importance of the goals and encourage them to take action through sectorial and multi-sector collaboration.


The research also showed that good intentions are not automatically translated into meaningful impact. There is a real gap between Board vision and activity levels, particularly those focused on impact. On average 72% of associations embed sustainability on a strategic level, but only 35% however implemented these priorities in the form of impact projects.






Even though sustainability is shown to be a regular topic discussed in board meetings, there is a lack of specific steps associations are taking towards integrating sustainability. As the chart shows, 94% of the respondents mention sustainability in the organisation’s mission or vision but only 50% set specific targets related to sustainability.



The study identifies four key areas in which sector associations can improve upon, in order to close the gap between vision and impact, as well as increase SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) engagement through practical work and implementation of specific projects:

  1. Improve education of business and society about the SDGs
  2. Increase collaboration for impact projects
  3. Increase the level of communication about the SDGs from sector association to members
  4. Share knowledge and resources




CSR Europe recommends following actions to improve impact levels through collaboration:

  • Develop robust sectorial SDG Roadmaps
  • Top CEOs to set vision and rally others
  • Initiate cross-sector collaboration
  • Encourage policy-makers to drive sector activity


More information and full report


PwC and CSR Europe have completed a study to assess Maturity and Integration of Sustainability in European Sector Associations and have released the White Paper ‘Collaboration for Impact: Maturity and Integration of sustainability in European sector associations’. The study includes a survey and interviews of 16 sector associations from 11 different industry sectors from manufacturing to retail.

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