Work, Progress, and Global Responsibility in the Implementation process of UN SDGs


Submission Open: 24th of December, 2022


Agenda 21, the first international agreement on sustainable development reached in 1992, was not very well implemented. According to the Johannesburg Plan of implementation and the United Nations conference on sustainable development held in Rio (Rio+20), the central theme of ten- and twenty-year reviews was lacking in the implementation process. In comparison, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were thought to have been carried out more successfully; hence, Rio+20 pushed for the formation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that would be modelled, at least in part, after the MDGs (Nhamo et al., 2021). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, includes the SDGs (Miralles and Miralles, 2021). With the world's need for sustainable development growth, the SDGs concept has acquired fast traction. The triple bottom line concept of human well-being is at the essence of sustainable development, even though particular definitions may differ (Bui & Filimonau, 2021). Even while nearly every society acknowledges that it aims to achieve a balance between economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusiveness, the particular goals vary internationally, between cultures, and even within communities (Ferreira et al., 2021).   It is still important to remember that sustainable development requires a focus on the Economy, environment, and social well-being.

The literature shows the theory of sustainable development (SD) has progressed through three distinct phases: the formative (before 1972), the intermediate (1972-1987), and the developmental (1987–present) (Shi et al., 2019). From a different notion, sustainable development is being developed into a worldwide movement with the incorporation of ever-increasing practical knowledge (Zhu and Hua, 2017). Initially, SD's focus was on ensuring the long-term use of the world's environmental assets to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Sindhwani et al., 2022). The United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda has been regarded as the most integrated and comprehensive framework for tackling the challenges of global environmental change.  According to Weber and Weber (2020), the SDGs approach is highly consistent with Ecological Modernization Theory (EMT) framework. Integrating "environmental" and "developmental" goals is advocated for and proposed based on EMT. Understanding and adapting to the dynamic interaction of science, technology, ecology, social, economic, and political change requires greater weight for these foundational realizations. As the need to simultaneously address environmental and social goals grows, this is an issue of prime significance. This calls for a more in-depth reconsideration of "sustainable development" meaning and the political opportunities it creates or eliminates.

Having identified the significance of sustainable development, we must also acknowledge that it requires significant effort and faces substantial challenges (Olabi et al., 2022). It is also important to remember that although developing and developed countries deal with opposite ends of the spectrum, sustainable development applies to both. Just because a country is considered "developed" does not mean it is sustainable; in fact, many "developed" nations still struggle with fundamental challenges like poverty and waste management (Adie et al., 2022). Sustainable development is possible, despite the highly challenging conditions that many developing countries are currently facing; however, it would require a great deal of focused and coordinated effort.

Furthermore, human society is currently faced with several severe challenges on a global scale (Virakul, 2015). Rapid depletion of natural resources, global warming, excessive consumption of goods and resources, toxic waste and chemical accumulation, and an alarming increase in the imbalance between material resource demands and a finite planet (Weerasooriya et al., 2022). As much as half of the natural resources that should be available to future generations have been used by our generation. In the event that the problems of the present are not resolved promptly, the survival of human civilization may be placed in serious trouble. Achieving the 2030 Agenda demands mobilizing and using all resources to develop. The global partnership for effective development cooperation provides a multi-stakeholder platform to increase the efficacy of development activities by all partners, generate long-lasting effects, and contribute to the SDGs (Abbas, 2021).

Since the SDGs have been around for over half a decade since they were adopted, it is now an appropriate moment to evaluate challenges linked to their implementation. On the one hand, the implementation process might not have started in certain nations yet, or it might be in the early stages in others. There are 17 objectives and 169 targets that make up the SDGs (United Nations General Assembly, 2015). The whole number of indicators has not yet been determined, but it is anticipated that there will be more than 200 of them. There are a lot of obstacles, ranging from a lack of obtained data to weak institutions, and they all need to be overcome. Knowledge on achieving the SDGs is limited and contradictory, and success will require a reassessment of the economic and development techniques (Plag et al., 2019). As the goals are highly interrelated with each other, which leads to contradictions between targets. Because of these complexities, earlier initiatives and efforts by Government and policymakers have been inadequate (Allen et al., 2021). On the other hand, some nations with greater enthusiasm have already started or made headway on the institutional structures necessary for the implementation process.

So, the special issue aims to answer some key research questions:

  1. What are the major theories behind the implementation of UN SDGs?
  2. Where are the knowledge gaps in achieving the UN SDGs?
  3. How do we handle the problems appearing during the implementation process?
  4. What are the global challenges and responsibilities in adopting UN SDGs?
  5. How can the industry respond most effectively to global challenges and sustainable development goals to improve performance?
  6. What are the future directions and global responsibilities to successfully implement UN SDGs?

The special issue aims to test the existing, validating, and extended theoretical debates in the area of SDGs by studying it from a global viewpoint. The SI calls for papers from scholars working on the point of global responsibilities toward SDGs implementation, government policy integration regarding SDGs, sustainable organizations, etc. The SI aims to reflect upon the global issues faced during the implementation process.

Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Business activities related to Climate Change 
  2. Circular Economy and its impact on Business Sustainability
  3. Digital sustainable technologies in businesses
  4. Economic Growth and Development in Sustainable Businesses
  5. ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategies in businesses
  6. Global challenges and responsibilities for SDGs
  7. Global responsibilities related to the Sustainable Development Goals
  8. Industry, Technology information, innovation, and infrastructure development in sustainable businesses
  9. SDGs adoption through sustainable organizations
  10. Sustainable Consumption and Production
  11. Sustainable Entrepreneurship
  12. Sustainable Supply Chain
  13. Theories development for SDGs

The Special Issue will draw three kinds of papers:

Empirical Papers - contribute towards theory development and theory extension in one or more applied fields of e-commerce. The authors are expected to propose new and improved theoretical models that have not been tested earlier in e-commerce and technology intervention.

Review Papers – Review papers include quantitative (i.e., meta-analytic, systematic reviews) and narrative or more qualitative components. They provide platforms for new conceptual frameworks, reveal inconsistencies in the extant body of research, synthesize diverse results, and generally give other scholars a “state-of-the-art” snapshot of a domain. We do not promote bibliometric based papers.

Case Study and Modelling Papers– This section invites authors to contribute to the body of knowledge of e-commerce and technology advancements from industry and practitioners' viewpoints. Submissions using approaches like case studies, mathematical modeling, and simulations are welcome. The authors should not present hypothetical cases in the manuscript until real-time data validate them.


  • Abbas, G. (2021). International Development Cooperation. The Future of Multilateralism: Global Cooperation and International Organizations, 215.
  • Adie, B. A., Amore, A., & Hall, C. M. (2022). Just because it seems impossible, doesn't mean we shouldn't at least try: The need for longitudinal perspectives on tourism partnerships and the SDGs. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 30(10), 2282-2297.
  • Allen, C., Metternicht, G., & Wiedmann, T. (2021). Priorities for science to support national implementation of the sustainable development goals: a review of progress and gaps. Sustainable Development29(4), 635-652.
  • Bui, H. T., & Filimonau, V. (2021). A recipe for sustainable development: assessing transition of commercial foodservices towards the goal of the triple bottom line sustainability. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
  • Ferreira, J. C., Vasconcelos, L., Monteiro, R., Silva, F. Z., Duarte, C. M., & Ferreira, F. (2021). Ocean literacy to promote sustainable development goals and agenda 2030 in coastal communities. Education Sciences11(2), 62.
  • Miralles-Quirós, M. M., & Miralles-Quirós, J. L. (2021). Sustainable finance and the 2030 agenda: Investing to transform the world. Sustainability13(19), 10505.
  • Nhamo, G., Togo, M., & Dube, K. (2021). Making Sustainable Development Goals Relevant for, in and with Societies. In Sustainable Development Goals for Society, 1 (pp. 3-15). Springer, Cham.
  • Olabi, A. G., Obaideen, K., Elsaid, K., Wilberforce, T., Sayed, E. T., Maghrabie, H. M., & Abdelkareem, M. A. (2022). Assessment of the pre-combustion carbon capture contribution into sustainable development goals SDGs using novel indicators. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 153, 111710.
  • Plag, H. P., & Jules-Plag, S. A. (2019). A goal-based approach to the identification of essential transformation variables in support of the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. International Journal of Digital Earth.
  • Shi, L., Han, L., Yang, F., & Gao, L. (2019). The evolution of sustainable development theory: Types, goals, and research prospects. Sustainability, 11(24), 7158.
  • Sindhwani, R., Singh, P. L., Behl, A., Afridi, M. S., Sammanit, D., & Tiwari, A. K. (2022). Modeling the critical success factors of implementing net zero emission (NZE) and promoting resilience and social value creation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 181, 121759.
  • United Nations General Assembly. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development, outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 agenda. RES/-A/70/L.1. New York: United Nations.
  • Virakul, B. (2015). Global challenges, sustainable development, and their implications for organizational performance. European Business Review.
  • Weber, H., & Weber, M. (2020). When means of implementation meet Ecological Modernization Theory: A critical frame for thinking about the Sustainable Development Goals initiative. World Development, 136, 105129.
  • Weerasooriya, R. R., Liyanage, L. P. K., Rathnappriya, R. H. K., Bandara, W. B. M. A. C., Perera, T. A. N. T., Gunarathna, M. H. J. P., & Jayasinghe, G. Y. (2021). Industrial water conservation by water footprint and sustainable development goals: a review. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 23(9), 12661-12709.
  • Zhu, J., & Hua, W. (2017). Visualizing the knowledge domain of sustainable development research between 1987 and 2015: a bibliometric analysis. Scientometrics, 110(2), 893-914.

Guest Editors

Abhishek Behl, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India ([email protected])

Rahul Sindhwani, Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar, India ([email protected])

Submission procedures

Submissions to the special issue should be sent electronically through the “Journal of Global Responsibility” ScholarOne System: see here. The manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines for authors given in the website of the journal “Journal of Global Responsibility”: see here.

Authors need to clearly indicate in their submission information and letter that their manuscript is for the Special Issue on “Work, Progress, and Global Responsibility in the Implementation process of UN SDGs” All submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process followed by “Journal of Global Responsibility” Journal. All manuscripts must be original, unpublished works that are not concurrently under review for publication elsewhere.

Interested authors are welcome to discuss their research ideas in the form of an extended abstract by contacting the guest editors. The abstract should be written keeping in mind the style of Emerald. The idea of proposing an abstract is share preliminary feedback to the interested authors. For any questions, interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor:

Abhishek Behl; [email protected]

Key Dates: 

  • Opening Date: 24th of December, 2022
  • Closing Date: April 15th, 2023
  • Final Editorial Decision: October 30th , 2023
  • Expected Publication:  2024