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Walking the Talk: Making the SDGs Core Business – An Integrated Framework

Filipa Pires de Almeida (Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands)
Rob van Tulder (RSM Erasmus University, The Netherlands)
Suzana B. Rodrigues (Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands)

International Business and Sustainable Development Goals

ISBN: 978-1-83753-505-7, eISBN: 978-1-83753-504-0

Publication date: 31 July 2023


Implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) has proven a significant challenge for companies. While multinational enterprises (MNEs) have shown a real intention to contribute to these goals, they face major barriers in implementing the SDGs in their core business strategies. Extant academic studies on this phenomenon have primarily explored why companies “should” address the SDG agenda but have not (yet) explored what “works,” what does not “work,” and why. Therefore, evidence of a sizable gap between intention and realization is growing. Besides, there is a limited explanation for the existence of this gap and no validated implementation models that could help overcome it. Additionally, management research remains relatively fragmented. The diversity of existing theoretical and empirical frameworks makes it difficult to consolidate scientific and practical insights on “how” to guide companies to accelerate the global goals through their core operations.

This study is one of the first attempts to draw lessons from extant research on effective SDGs’ implementation strategies. For that, we upgrade the “SDG Compass,” which has been recognized as a leading framework for SDGs implementation in companies’ core activities. A critical assessment of the literature on the SDGs implementation has been conducted through a systematic literature review (SLR) and bibliometric analysis. This has helped us identify gaps in the SDG implementation practice and accumulate relevant insights supporting a more integrated and upgraded implementation framework: the SDG Compass+. This framework can advance coordinated theoretical and practical research by identifying the antecedents and critical factors of impactful SDG implementation strategies.



de Almeida, F.P., van Tulder, R. and Rodrigues, S.B. (2023), "Walking the Talk: Making the SDGs Core Business – An Integrated Framework", van Tulder, R., Giuliani, E. and Álvarez, I. (Ed.) International Business and Sustainable Development Goals (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 49-82.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Filipa Pires de Almeida, Rob Van Tulder and Suzana B. Rodrigues