The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as an Operationalized Framework for the Global Food and Beverage Industry and the Subsequent Financial and ESG Impacts
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In 2015, the United Nations (UN) created Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], a framework for better addressing sustainable development (Stafford-Smith et al., 2017). While these goals were originally intended for use by government, the urgency for global sustainable development has prompted business and others to utilize these goals. Within the context of this thesis, this poses the problem of how to effectively operationalize the SDGs within business, specifically the food and beverage sector. The primary problems addressed within this thesis are how to better integrate the SDGs within the food and beverage sector and the impacts on financial gains and ESG ratings. The literature review reviewed the background of sustainable development and the SDGs. It then explored the global food and beverage sector, specifically, the significance to society and the economy, the environmental impacts in connection to operations, and how sustainability is currently being operationalized within the sector. It also looked at how the sector compares with other sectors with regards to sustainability and specifically the SDGs. Connections between finance and ESG relate to the food and beverage sector were also explored. Finally, Dynamic Capabilities is discussed and argued as appropriate theory to help explain the degree to which the SDGs are implemented by businesses within the sector. Following a mixed method approach, data were collected from 62 companies, representing three food and beverage sectors and eight sub-subsectors. Data for this sample included corporate reports from 2016-2019, as reports prior to 2016 did not include reference to the SDGs and up to 2019 (the most recent year of corporate reports being available). Financial and ESG data were retrieved through Compustat. The results of the regression analysis showed that SDG integration yielded an increase to financial gains as well as a slight increase in ESG ratings. This furthers the academic conversation surrounding SDG operationalization in business and provides evidence in support of the business case for doing so. By explicitly showing that SDG integration can improve food and beverage companies’ financial gains and ESG ratings, the contribution to practice is shown though these tangible incentives.
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Rachel Mackenzie Ksiazek (2022). The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as an Operationalized Framework for the Global Food and Beverage Industry and the Subsequent Financial and ESG Impacts. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17851