3 years ago

Common Ground: the sustainable development goals and the marketing and advertising industry

Daphne Comfort, Peter Jones, David Hillier


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed at a United Nations General Assembly in 2015, embrace an ambitious and wide‐ranging set of global environmental, social, and economic issues designed to effect a transition to a more sustainable future. The United Nations called on all governments to not only pursue these ambitious goals but also acknowledged the important role of the business community in addressing the SDGs. The high profile launch in June 2016 of the ‘Common Ground’ initiative to support the SDGs by Ban Ki‐moon, United Nations General Secretary, and six of the world's leading marketing and advertising companies, namely, Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom group, Publicis Group, and WPP might be seen to herald a new era in the transition to a more sustainable future. This paper outlines the SDGs and business engagement with them, reviews the sustainably strategies and achievements currently being publicly reported by the six leading advertising and marketing companies, and offers some reflections on a number of the challenges these companies will face in contributing to the SDGs.

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