Perspectives

Survey: "Business with a Heart"

Summary analysis and findings

Deloitte Malta and SOS Malta, together with the support of the Core Platform (Corporate Citizenship for Responsible Enterprises), embarked on the joint project "Business with a Heart" co-funded by the re-granting fund of the Educating for Change (E4C) EU-funded project, being implemented in Malta by SKOP. This project aims at increase knowledge, awareness and engagement of the Maltese business sector regarding its role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. As a first step, "Business with a Heart" undertook a survey with local businesses which aimed to identify the current situation in Malta regarding the level of knowledge and commitment to the SDGs of the businesses. We received 34 answers to our survey highlighting a number of key trends.

The analysis of the survey highlights very positive answers when looking at the general concern and interest of the Maltese business sector with regard to Sustainable Development issues. Indeed 96 % of the respondents think businesses should engage with the sustainable development agenda and adopt ethical or responsible behaviour.These finding provide us with a positive and enabling environment in which to move forward in the promotion of the SDGs and more responsible behaviour.

However, while companies are aware and concerned about sustainable development issues, very few businesses have a written CSR or ethical/responsible business policy or precise knowledge about the SDGs: 80% of the respondents declared not having any policy relating to or specifically addressing the SDGs in their company. They mainly highlight barriers related to lack of knowledge on the SDGs and on how to implement them in their businesses (87%) more than financial barriers. Therefore, it is evident that there is room for improvement and there is a role for awareness raising on the SDGs with business.

Nevertheless, some of the respondents declared having good practices related to the sustainable development agenda and gave us many concrete examples, concerning the 5 pillars: Planet, People, Peace, Partnership, Prosperity.  These answers helped us to understand the kind of practices implemented by the businesses in Malta.

From the analysis of the results we also found out that they are some differences between the small and the big businesses. They both have the same level of concern and awareness on the SDGs but when it comes to a more concrete policy, only 15% of the small businesses declared having a written CSR policy, whereas 50% of the larger businesses have one. The smaller organisations perceive to have budgetary barriers that larger ones which they believe is a hindrance to engagement.

On the whole, it seems that many Maltese companies are doing good for people and planet, but we are not fully aware of these initiatives. Their lack of knowledge on the SDGs make them think that taking initiatives for the sustainable development agenda is something that is too complicated to implement and not affordable.

Thus, we believe that our campaign, "Business with a Heart" is essential to increase awareness of businesses on the issues of sustainable development to make them understand the importance of the subject for the whole society as well as for their own business in the long-term run; to increase their knowledge so that they can realise that they already have good practices or that they can easily start implementing some; and to increase their engagement by showing them how they can act for sustainable development and that it is affordable and can be part of the general policy thinking of their business.

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