As we move into a crucial decade of action on achieving serious progress on sustainability, many are hoping the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession will serve to reset our priorities toward a greener future in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, many experts are not optimistic about the possibility of a green recovery.

Over half of sustainability professionals believe that COVID-19 instead will slow the rate of progress toward achieving the SDGs, according to a new report, Evaluating Progress on the SDGs, by GlobeScan and The SustainAbility Institute by ERM. Findings from the research also show that sustainability practitioners continue to report poor progress toward each of the 17 goals, as well as on sustainable development overall.

Nearly 500 experienced sustainability professionals in 75 countries were asked to evaluate the progress that has been made, on sustainable development overall and on each SDG; to rank the relative urgency of each goal, and to share insights into the priorities within their own organizations. Experts also were asked how the pandemic will affect progress on the SDGs. The survey also tracked expert opinions polled in 2017 and 2019.

When asked to rate the progress to date on the overall transition to sustainable development, more than half of sustainability experts (54 percent) say progress has been poor, with most remaining respondents giving neutral ratings (41 percent). Only 4 percent are satisfied with society’s achievements so far. Those who have the most negative views on progress tend to work in the academic and research sector, with European experts being the most negative.

Read the full article about progress on SDGs by Tove Malmqvist at GreenBiz.