Businesses, governments and civil society groups around the world are increasingly committed to achieving sustainability. One way to gauge the societal benefits of a given investment option, research strategy or policy is to consider how it might affect progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are complex, however, and in some contexts, actions that contribute to achieving one goal may undermine progress on another.

The Agenda 2030 Compass project has developed an innovative approach to
understanding synergies and trade-offs between SDGs, to help decision-makers achieve the greatest societal benefit.

While prior work on the topic involved eliciting inputs from small groups of experts or quantifying qualitative studies on SDG interaction, we also deployed an online platform to gather input on SDG interactions from around the world. This enabled greater participation by experts from the Global South in particular, who had been underrepresented in prior work on SDG interactions, which mainly included researchers based in Western Europe and North America.

To ensure that the 2030 Compass produces actionable results, much of the work relies on knowledge co-creation methods, where the project team has worked in close cooperation with the Compass users themselves and a range of other stakeholders.