The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched the Chemical Sector SDG Roadmap alongside the United Nations’ High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York City.

Over the course of the last year, nine of the world’s leading chemical companies and two prominent industry associations have come together to explore, articulate and help realize the unique potential of the chemical sector to leverage its influence and innovation to contribute to the SDG agenda.

The culmination of these efforts is a Roadmap for the sector which maps its interaction with the SDGs, identifies ten priority goals for the chemical industry and outlines 18 key opportunities where the sector can have transformative impact across this agenda. Each of these impact opportunities is also underscored by a series of impact pathways which highlight tangible actions that the sector can take to maximize its potential for positive SDG impact across short-, medium- and long-term time horizons.

Organizations who have been involved in the work are AkzoNobel, Covestro, The Dow Chemical Company, DSM, Evonik Industries AG, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, SABIC, Solvay S.A., Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited, as well as The American Chemistry Council (ACC), and The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).

Why a sector roadmap?

There is mounting appreciation across the global business community of the key role that the private sector has to play in the realization of the SDGs and of the immense potential that this agenda has to unleash innovation, economic growth and development at an unprecedented scale. However, achieving the SDGs and harnessing this potential will not be achieved by any company in isolation and instead calls for innovative new forms of collaboration.

In its flagship Better Business Better World report, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission makes a compelling case for companies to come together with sector peers to develop detailed “roadmaps” to guide their industry’s shift to sustainable development in line with the SDGs.

These recommendations have been embraced by the chemical sector who have worked with WBCSD to pioneer the development of the Chemical Sector SDG roadmap.

Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel noted that: “The chemical sector is uniquely placed to drive positive impact across the full spectrum of the SDG agenda. Coming together as a sector helps us to make sure we are maximizing this potential.”

“The SDGs are a priority for the chemical sector and this Roadmap clearly outlines where we can simultaneously unlock significant business opportunities and contribute tremendously in delivering the SDG agenda across the sector and through collaboration with other sectors” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.

According to WBCSD President and CEO Peter Bakker, “the road-mapping process that WBCSD’s chemical sector members have undertaken exemplifies the type of action-focused collaboration that will be instrumental in realizing the broad ambitions of the SDG agenda.”

A catalyst for continued innovation and collaboration

The articulation of the key impact opportunities and actions highlighted in this report is just the first step on the road to continued SDG engagement. Leading chemical sector representatives from within WBCSD’s membership will now look to evolve this work from ambition to implementation through targeted working groups, and this Roadmap also represents an invitation to other industry peers as well as public and private sector stakeholders to collaborate around efforts for SDG action moving forward.

For more information on the concept of SDG Sector Roadmaps see WBCSD’s SDG Sector Roadmap Guidelines which detail a step-by- step methodology for how companies within a given industry can come together and explore their collective potential to advance the SDG agenda.

Download the publication (pdf)