Inventory of Business Indicators

This inventory maps existing business indicators against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It allows you to explore commonly used indicators and other relevant indicators that may be useful when measuring and reporting your organization’s contribution to the SDGs.

You can use the filters below to explore indicators related to a specific SDG Goal or Target or by Business theme. To continue working with the inventory in MS Excel, you can either download the full inventory or only indicators that match your search or filters.

About the inventory

The indicators included in the inventory have been selected from reporting standards commonly used by businesses, such as GRI’s and CDP’s, and from other relevant sources. See Tab <Indicator Sources> for an overview of the indicator sources used. Government or official statistical indicators have not been included; only those indicators developed specifically for businesses.

The inventory focuses on quantitative indicators, but qualitative indicators have been included when relevant for measuring the issue in question. It also includes a mix of general and sector-specific indicators.

The selected indicators can help companies measure one or more aspects for the respective target, but do not attempt to approximate the target.

The inventory is by no means complete, comprehensive or authoritative. The inventory is a work in progress and it will be expanded as soon as new indicators are developed for businesses to measure and report their contribution to the SDGs. Please use the link of the bottom of the page to suggest additional indicators that should be added to this inventory.

If you are interested only in indicators from the GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and Sector Disclosures, you can either filter the data below by Source or download a GRI-specific mapping in PDF format.

How to use the inventory

Companies can filter the indicators by SDG Goal or Target or by Business theme. For each indicator its source is provided as well as an indication of whether the indicator is general or sector-specific. In addition, for many indicators explanatory notes and comments are provided indicating the relevance of the indicator for the Goal and Target in question.

The SDGs and related Targets integrate economic, social and environmental aspects and recognize their interlinkages in achieving sustainable development in all its dimensions. This is also reflected in the mapping of indicators, where some indicators are mapped to more than one SDG and Target to reflect these interlinkages.

For example, the issue of water quality can be seen from a health perspective (Goal 3, Target 3.9) and as an indispensable element of sustainable water management (Goal 6, Target 6.3) and for ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (Goal 12, Target 12.4). Therefore, indicators on water quality are mapped against these three Goals and Targets.

How to disaggregate indicators

Companies will need to determine the level of aggregation at which to measure and present the information requested by the indicators they select. This entails balancing the effort required against the added meaningfulness of information reported on a disaggregated basis (such as by country or sex). Companies are encouraged to disaggregate information to an appropriate level by considering whether the disaggregated information will provide appropriate context on significant impacts, whether positive or negative.

Aggregation of information can result in the loss of a significant amount of meaning, and can also fail to highlight particularly strong or poor performance in specific areas. On the other hand, unnecessary disaggregation of data can affect the ease of understanding the information. Disaggregation will vary by indicator, but will generally provide more insight than a single, aggregated figure.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of criteria that companies can use to further disaggregate the information requested by the indicators included in the inventory: location (such as region, country, or site), sex, age, race, disability, nationality, ethnicity, indigenous status, migrant status, income level, and other relevant characteristics.

Many of the indicators included in the inventory request data disaggregated by sex or other relevant characteristics. However, these and other indicators also lend themselves to further disaggregation using other criteria, as listed above.

How the indicator sources were selected

The indicator sources used in this inventory (see Tab <Indicator Sources>) were selected based on the following quality criteria:

Organizational Background

– The issuing organization provides publicly-available information about the development process of the reporting standard

– The indicator set was developed using a collaborative, representative, robust, and transparent process; or developed in an inter-governmental setting

– The issuing organization is non-profit

Content

– The indicator set offers indicators across all pillars of sustainable development. Issue-specific indicator sets may be selected when relevant for addressing a particular sustainable development goal or target

Applicability

– The indicator set is generally applicable or country/region-specific, when relevant for addressing a particular sustainable development goal or target

– The indicator set is applicable to all organizations or sector-specific, when relevant for addressing a particular sustainable development goal or target

Accessibility

– The indicator set is available in English

– The indicator set is available for free

Validity

– The indicator set is current and in use

Please note that the inclusion of a business indicator in the inventory does not imply an endorsement by any of the SDG Compass partners.