Sustainable development goals as unifying narratives in large UK firms’ Twitter discussions

Alessia Patuelli*, Fabio Saracco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


To achieve sustainable development worldwide, the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for humanity to reach by 2030. Society is involved in the challenge, with firms playing a crucial role. Thus, a key question is to what extent firms engage with the SDGs. Efforts to map firms' contributions have mainly focused on analysing companies' reports based on limited samples and non-real-time data. We present a novel interdisciplinary approach based on analysing big data from an online social network (Twitter) with complex network methods from statistical physics. By doing so, we provide a comprehensive and nearly real-time picture of firms' engagement with SDGs. Results show that: (1) SDGs themes tie conversations among major UK firms together; (2) the social dimension is predominant; (3) the attention to different SDGs themes varies depending on the community and sector firms belong to; (4) stakeholder engagement is higher on posts related to global challenges compared to general ones; (5) large UK companies and stakeholders generally behave differently from Italian ones. This paper provides theoretical contributions and practical implications relevant to firms, policymakers and management education. Most importantly, it provides a novel tool and a set of keywords to monitor the influence of the private sector on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. [Abstract copyright: © 2023. The Author(s).]
Original languageEnglish
Article number7017
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

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