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Target 12.6

Sustainable Business

target 12.6

Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

Indicator 12.6.1

Number of companies publishing sustainability reports.

The SDG 12 targets cover a range of entry points and actors for promoting responsible consumption and production. This includes acknowledging the critical role of the private sector in the shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns.

While the private sector has a critical role to play in the attainment of the SDGs, Target 12.6 and Indicator 12.6.1 are the only ones specifically monitoring the practices of private sector entities. While Indicator 12.6.1 counts the number of companies producing “sustainability reports”, the custodian agencies consider the indicator an important opportunity not only to monitor and promote the growth in sustainability reporting globally, but also to monitor and promote high quality reporting that provides data on sustainability issues in a consistent and comparable manner as well as enhance the integration of sustainability information into the annual reporting cycle of companies and promote sustainability practices by companies (as mentioned in the Target under which the indicator falls). Attempts have therefore been made to integrate all of these aspects into the methodology, to the extent possible.

Global and Regional Progress

Custodian Agencies

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has been promoting the shift to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns for the past two decades. It is the custodian agency responsible for 8 out of 12 indicators under SDG 12.

UNEP guides policy development for SCP through its global frameworks, networks, programmes and partnerships, through knowledge-sharing and facilitating access to science, policy guidance, technical tools and best practices.

UNEP contributes to SDG 12.2, “achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources”, by strengthening and communicating the knowledge and scientific base for resource efficiency and SCP. This includes scientific information on natural resource use and “decoupling opportunities” as a basis for evidence-based policymaking.

Additionally, UNEP works on strengthening the sound management of chemicals and waste by supporting parties to the multilateral environmental agreements to meet their respective obligations. This work supports SDG 12.4 ‘achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.’ UNEP also hosts the secretariats for several waste and chemicals-related multilateral environmental agreements and implements initiatives targeting various types of waste, including food waste and hazardous waste and chemicals.

As part of its actions towards SDG 12.6, “Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.”, UNEP collaborates with the private sector in partnerships promoting innovation, technological solutions and financing to tackle our most pressing global environmental challenges. UNEP fosters partnerships with business and industry to promote green investments and apply sustainable business practices across value chains. It also promotes and builds capacity in corporate sustainability reporting.

UNEP Science Division

  • SDG Unit
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Along with UNEP, UNCTAD is the custodian agency for 12.6.1: “Number of companies publishing sustainability reports.” As part of this responsibility as a custodian agency, UNCTAD leads the methodological development of indicator 12.6.1 and oversees the data collection and reporting process up to 2030. UNCTAD and UNEP identified four themes for sustainability reporting: economic, environmental, social and institutional and governance.

UNCTAD serves as the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR), the United Nations focal point on accounting and corporate governance matters. ISAR facilitates the exchange of views and best practices, building consensus, developing guidance documents, and providing technical assistance on issues related to both financial and sustainability/SDG reporting. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, ISAR focuses on harmonization of companies reporting on their contribution to the SDG implementation.

Additionally, UNCTAD is also part of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative.

UNCTAD contributes to the implementation of other SDG12 Targets. For instance, UNCTAD supports the work of the Commission for Science and Technology for Development, which helps strengthen science, technology and innovation for sustainability (SDG 12.a.1). UNCTAD has also studied and proposed tools to encourage the development of sustainable tourism (SDG 12.b.1).

Responsible for:

Guidance material


Metadata 12.6.1


Guidance on core indicators for entity reporting on contribution towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

External source

Core SDG Indicators for Entity Reporting: Training manual

External source

Online Course: Environmental SDG Indicators

External source

Related resources