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Businesses as Engines of Change

Are businesses driving real changes, or are they unintentionally creating another problem?


While businesses are busy making profits in this uncertain world, societal and environmental problems are left unchecked. Adopting the widely recognizable colored squares, or the 17 SDGs, can be one of the most effective marketing tools to show that businesses have stepped up to join the rest of the world in this global movement. While it may seem simple in practice, the problems outlined behind each SDG and their relationship to each other are much more complicated than they seem. Diving head first into addressing these issues without considering other factors will likely become unsuccessful efforts. For instance, Affordable and Clean Energy simply cannot be achieved if employees’ KPIs remain tied to financial performance.


If businesses do not begin with themselves, jumping straight into tackling external issues—such as the ones outlined by the SDGs—may lead to results that are limited to the brand image level rather than being embedded into their core businesses. Instead, companies must dare to reevaluate themselves and question whether they and their stakeholders are equipped to create real impact.

“Is the organization genuinely committed to incorporating People and Planet into its values?”

“Do employees understand where the business wants to go and the importance of doing so?”

“Do the organization’s KPIs align with and support the direction to embed the triple bottom line?”

Ultimately, creating lasting impact boils down to ensuring the organization’s readiness as the first step. To achieve this and avoid unintentionally contributing to another problem—such as greenwashing—companies must systematically transform both their soft and hard sides and develop themselves into engines of change. When that is achieved, businesses will be able to tackle problems holistically and create a true, lasting impact.

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