Chapter 5 MNEs approach to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals - an exploratory study
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Six years after the adoption of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is unlikely that any country will achieve all SDGs by 2030. This exploratory study sheds light on the urgent topic of MNEs' contributions to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Based on a sample of n=735 SDG-related corporate activities undertaken in 99 different host countries and by 20 different MNEs headquartered across nine different countries, the chapter highlights approaches and motivations of MNEs contributing to (greater) sustainable development in host countries. Drawing on the framework of Dunning and Fortanier (2007), the activities are classified according to their proactive and reactive effects, as well as those of internal and external nature. The results reveal an unequal corporate contributions across the 17 SDGs, with a particular focus on goals that provide synergies for the MNEs and are more closely related to their own business operations. As such SDG 8 - 'Decent work and economic growth', SDG 3 - 'Good health and well-being', and SDG 9 - 'Industry, innovation and infrastructure' (n = 146), are the goals mainly addressed by MNEs' activities. In addition, the study finds that more than 75% of MNEs' activities are preferably executed in economically strong host countries. Through critical discussion of the findings, the study contributes to research on MNEs' contributions to the SDGs, approaches possible explanations on the status quo of SDG achievement, and reveals promising avenues for future research.

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