From global goals to local development

The Sustainable Development Goals have become an important signpost for the Nordic municipalities’ work with innovation, partnerships and communication.

However, only few Nordic municipalities have yet realised the full potential behind the SDGs, according to Deloitte’s report on Nordic municipalities’ localization of the SDGs.

The report demonstrates how innovation and partnerships are two of the big themes in most of the Nordic municipalities’ work to localise the SDGs. Many view innovation and partnerships as the launchpad for addressing existing challenges in new ways and in partnership with others.

The report also shows how the majority of the Nordic municipalities make use of the SDGs as a point of reference in their communication with a view to mobilise local stakeholders around a common agenda.

In this way, 3 in 5 of the Nordic municipal leaders believe that the SDGs can be a door opener for local growth and public innovation and they view partnerships as a way to get there.

”With the report, we see a tendency that the Nordic municipalities are starting to leverage the SDGs in a strategic way. Through interviews with 181 heads of administration it is clear that visionary municpal leaders and politicians increasingly wish to drive this agenda locally”, says Bahare Hagshenas, Senior Manager at Deloitte Denmark.

Three levels of implementation

This report and Deloitte’s experience from providing consultancy service to the public sector suggest that municipalities can work with the SDGs at three levels:

  1. Demonstrating and communicating how existing initiatives link to the SDGs and mobilising stakeholders around a common agenda.
  2. Stimulating action by strengthening collaboration across the administration, by adopting a SDG plan, by including sustainability criteria in public tenders, procurement and investment policies, and by supporting local companies in integrating the SDGs into operations.
  3. Working to strengthen private sector engagement in the SDGs and catalysing development of new and innovative solutions with positive impact on society, the environment and financial growth.

About the report

2018 is the second year that Deloitte develops a report on the localisation of the SDGs. The first report, published in June 2017, covered Danish municipalities only. In this second version, published June 2018, the scope covers municipalities in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The report is based on data from interviews conducted primarily with heads of administration in the four countries during the period from 20 February to 20 April 2018. In some instances, interviews have been conducted with other municipal leaders with special insight into the SDGs.

Danish version of the report can be found here.

Localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Nordic municipalities 2018