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Organizations with sustainability programs in place might reconsider adding yet another framework or set of initiatives to their corporate responsibility program. However, one of the benefits of the Global Goals is that they offer the potential for a common vocabulary around sustainability, one that cuts across all industries and geographic regions, both in the developed and developing world. Because the Global Goals are fundamentally a set of topics (such as poverty, education, equality, decent work and water quality) they can be easily connected to an organization’s existing sustainability initiatives. In fact, Textile Exchange members that have started to engage with the SDGs have mostly tied them to pre-existing programs.

Want to know more about the engaging with the SDGs? Check out this discussion between the chief sustainability officers of two major apparel sector companies — C&A’s Jeffrey Hogue and Target’s Jennifer Silberman—moderated by GreenBiz Vice President and Senior Analyst John Davies.


Every organization approaching the Global Goals framework will need to conduct its own evaluation of whether and how to incorporate the Global Goals into its strategy and whether they wish to externally communicate such engagement or not. Certain organizations might start by evaluating their current activities and map those against the Global Goals while others might prefer to replace their sustainability platform altogether with the Global Goals framework. Textile Exchange encourages both approaches and supports any degree of engagement with the Goals.

As with any sustainability initiative, engagement will depend upon a materiality analysis and be based on the individual environmental, social and economic reach of a company, its sourcing region and product footprints, stakeholder demands and the availability of financial and other resources. While we agree that the Goals are all integrated and require consideration, we do not believe it is feasible for all businesses to start by addressing all of the Goals at the start of their process without the appropriate resources to enable successful outcomes. Therefore, if a company has a current playbook of initiatives and maps to the Goals, this can be a great start the process of engagement.


Various organizations have released helpful guides for companies to reference as they consider whether to adopt the Global Goals, and links to many of these are found in the Resources section of this guide. Here are a few starting points:

  • SDGCompass.org, developed by Global Reporting Initiative, UN Global Compact and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, released a Guide that includes a simple approach to engagement based on five steps: understanding the Goals, defining priorities, goal setting, integrating sustainability and reporting. An interactive feature of SDGCompass.org is the searchable inventory of existing business tools mapped against the Goals. It can be searched by SDG, by Tool Developer or by Keyword. For example, if a company desires to find available tools for measuring water impacts in its supply chain under SDG 6, the database will generate a list of relevant available tools.
  • The Global Compact’s Blueprint for SDG Leadership. The UN Global Compact offers a series of resources supporting engagement with the Goals, including a list of SDG-specific reasons for why business should engage. The Compact is also developing a number of SDG tools (known as Action Platforms) as part of their 2018 Toolkit to advance the Goals. Based on the Compact’s Ten Principles, it has launched Action Platforms which include The Blueprint for SDG Leadership.
  • SDG Industry Matrices. UN Global Compact and KMPG have released a series of SDG Industry Matrices for different industries, including Food, Beverage and Consumer Goods and Industrial Manufacturing. Each Matrix “provides industry specific ideas for action and industry specific practical examples for each relevant SDG. Textile Exchange is working on sector guidance which will be published in the Spring of 2018 so keep checking this website or sign up for notification here.

Take our survey

Click here to participate in Textile Exchange’s SDG survey about your engagement with the Global Goals.


Under the theme Catalyzing the Sustainable Goals, the 2017 Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference was the our largest conference to date, drawing sustainability leaders from the world’s most renowned brands. We are making available a selection of sessions that took place at the conference, in which various member companies discuss how they have engaged with the Global Goals.

Contact GlobalGoals@TextileExchange.org  

Presentation by PVH

Marissa Pagnani | Group VP Corporate Responsibility, PVH, Corp

Funding SDG Opportunities

Karen Newman, United Nations | Arif Ekram, Foundation Center
Trevor Davies, KPMG

2018 Textile Sustainability Conference

Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference, a one-of-a-kind global event, strategically positioned in one of the world’s “Big Four” fashion capitals – is designed to provide resources and knowledge through inspirational keynotes and motivational seminars. With more than 500 leaders from the textile and apparel value chain expected to attend, delegates will gain an unparalleled look into the
biggest innovations and opportunities in sustainability today while building strong networks with like-minded individuals and organizations.

We will be announcing the agenda, speakers, and venue information soon. Stay tuned for more updates and follow us @TextileExchange for conference news!