PROPER and SDGs: Achieving Harmony
November 1, 2018

THE United Nations (UN) reports significant progress on the 2018 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) three years after its implementation. One of them is the improvement of public access to electricity throughout the world.

Nevertheless, improvement can still be made on other goals, such as social and environment, among other crucial goals. Countries, including Indonesia, are targeted to achieve 17 sustainable development goals, comprising of 169 targets and 241 indicators, for the next 12 years or by 2030. It is the world’s joint commitment.

The government, as the main driver to achieve these goals, requires the collaboration and support from all stakeholders industries (private sector/business), media, communities, non-governmental organizations, academics, and other parties.
Charles Vincent of PwC Consulting Indonesia said common responsibility and trust are keys for the collaboration to make impacts.

One of the stakeholders to achieve SDGs targets is the business world as included in the 2017 Presidential Regulation No.59, Article 1, Clause 10, on Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, Jane Nelson, Beth Jenkins and Richard Gilbert, in their book Building Blocks Success At Scale stated that companies could contribute to SDGs through three layers: business core, social investment and public policy advocacy.

The core business is related to how companies internalize non-profit factors, which most of the time has been considered as externalities, such as social and environmental impacts (compliance). Going further than that is social investment (beyond compliance), activities outside of the core business that aims to enhance social entrepreneurship. Finally, public policy advocacy (extra-beyond compliance), is the business world’s contribution to improve public policy management.

Jalal, a CSR advocate, said that to dedicatedly contribute to SDGs, companies must change its business core. This is in relation to the Ministry’s Program for Pollution Control, Evaluation, and Rating, or PROPER, which already incorporated the three layers.

PROPER ratings are categorized based on five colors: Black, Red, Blue, Green, and Gold. A company is considered in compliance with environmental regulation will be given the Blue rating. If they go beyond compliance, they will receive the Green rating.

“This is the phase when (a company’s) environmental conservation is based on environmental management system, and then followed by empowerment programs to encourage communities to protect the environment,” said Jalal.

The top rating is Gold, which requires the companies to be consistent in their environmental excellence, ethical business and social responsibility.

Achieving harmony
To realize the SDG targets there are three things that need to be considered the challenges of sustainable development goals, the objectives of sustainable development goals for businesses, contributions from companies, and the tie-in between achieving the SDG goals with other objectives.

These considerations are connected to the current business-as-usual achievements so that companies can set up an achievement matrix. Then to optimize them in order to achieve the SDGs.

The harmony between SDG achievements and core business is the key which is the implementation of environmental management system on the production of goods and service activities.

Companies that already implemented extra-activities in the form of corporate social responsibility such as community empowerment, can extend the matrix in order to identify with SDGs targets.

These phases are in line with the companies’ sustainable management sequence, as being represented by the five colors of PROPER.

If the criteria of PROPER are compared to the indicators of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it can be seen that they intertwine. The concept of sustainable development between PROPER and SDGs are in harmony.

To significantly achieve the targets of SDGs, companies can focus on high value activities, such as community empowerment activities to push social entrepreneurship, which is eligible for the Gold rating in PROPER.

These activities are related to Goal 16 of the SDG, which underlines inclusivity and peace for sustainable development. Providing access to justice for all, effective, accountability and inclusive institutional development.

At this level, the achievements can go simultaneously with other targets, such as poverty reduction, nutrition improvement, people’s welfare improvement, education, gender equality, clean water access, renewable energy and partnership for sustainable development.

For example, community development at the social entrepreneurship level is encouraged to achieve multi-goals, such as wealth creation for communities, social innovation missions for the social structure and raising environmental awareness.

The next step is to link the targets and achievements to SDGs derivative indicators established by the government, which is also internationally applicable. This will be relevant especially for multinational companies.