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Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Join Market Research Partnership to Tackle SDGs

Image Credit: Unilever

There is yet another new group that can be filed under Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. Yesterday, Unilever and several industry partners announced the creation of an open platform to share their ideas, data, and insights on addressing key global challenges. The group, under the name Paragon Partnerships, aims to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals) through collaboration and market research.

The initial partners include PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kantar, Nielsen, MetrixLab, GfK, Flamingo, Save the Children, The Market Research Society (MRS), Esomar, and Sapient Nitro.

“In a rapidly-changing world, we cannot operate in silos. The past year has set the precedent with highly ambitious goals and frameworks created to address the global sustainability and development challenges that we all face,” said Stan Sthanunathan, ‎Senior Vice President, Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever.

“It is time to accelerate efforts to move towards achieving these goals and Paragon will allow us to share learning, data and insight, and encourages other businesses and industries to address these critical challenges affecting us all. By building a network of partners and working together, we can look for solutions which have greater scale and impact globally to address development and societal challenges.”

Paragon’s priorities will be set be a steering committee; the committee will convene on a quarterly basis to agree on 3 key questions aligned with the SDGs. These questions will be segmented by country clusters and added to research conducted by the agencies for their clients during that quarter. The data will be hosted on a single platform to democratise the information and facilitate easy access; anyone signed up to the Paragon initiative will be able to access the data.

Through its research company partners and their clients, Paragon expects to provide quality insights on the issues that the world is facing to allow governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academics to access and leverage that knowledge to help advance their work and their pursuit of the SDGs.

“Unilever’s Paragon partnership, which we are delighted to support, is an excellent practical example of the way that ethically sourced research can be used for good, giving more people a voice and more organisations a chance to listen,” said Jane Frost, CEO of MRS.

This initiative builds on Unilever’s numerous other collaboration efforts to act on the SDGs, such as CEO Paul Polman’s participation in the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development, a group which aims to quantify the business case for helping to achieve the SDGs, and Champions 12.3, a coalition of leaders and organizations working to achieve Target 12.3 – to halve per capita global food waste by 2030.

Meanwhile, through April 30, 2016, the United Nations (UN) Global Compact is accepting nominations of business leaders and change-makers who are mobilizing action at the local level as part of the recently-announced “Local SDG Pioneers” programme.


Hannah Furlong is one of Sustainable Brands's Contributing Writers, based in Canada. She is researching the circular economy as a Master's student in Sustainability Management at the University of Waterloo and holds a Bachelor's in Environment and Business Co-op. Hannah… [Read more about Hannah Furlong]


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