The tool is called the SDG Impact Assessment Tool and is developed by the Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, in collaboration with SDSN Northern Europe and Mistra Carbon Exit, and with financial support from the Region Västra Götaland via the Maritime Cluster of Western Sweden.
The Gothenburg Center for Sustainable Development is the owner of the tool. Director Jan Pettersson says that this is a very important asset, initiated for researchers and other actors to be able to work with and relate to the Global Goals in their own business.
– We want to offer a tool to strengthen the work on sustainable development within research, education, and collaboration within both Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. But the tool is not just for the universities. It is also valuable for all types of businesses that want to strengthen their contribution to the Global Goals.
The tool is free and available online for anyone to use. The base for the tool is a method that has been used previously but then only in a paper format. By launching a web version of the tool, the project manager Anders Ahlbäck hopes to reach more people with the message that a holistic view of the Global Goals is important.
– Today, many businesses spend time selecting "their" goals in Agenda 2030, often through mapping. With the SDG Impact Assessment Tool, we try to reverse the perspective. The tool offers a structured way to describe the impact on the Global Goals, based on the users’ own knowledge. Do we have positive, negative or no impact on a goal? Do we know, or do we lack knowledge? By thinking about these issues, we hope that users can strengthen their contributions to Agenda 2030 and the Global Goals for sustainable development.
There are many ways to address the Global Goals and the tool reflects that fact. Depending on how the user defines the purpose of making an assessment in the tool, it can fulfill different objectives. Some examples are: to identify risks and opportunities related to the Global Goals; to set own goals adapted to sustainable development; to tell shareholders and other stakeholders about what impact one's business has; or to engage all employees in promoting the goals and allocating responsibility across the organization to achieve progress. All these variants differ in mindset – but differences can also be turned into coherence.
– If, for example, several municipalities, county councils and regions use the tool in the same way, it will be easier to achieve consensus on common challenges, says Anders Ahlbäck.