UN Sustainable Development Goals

Understand who is driving innovation to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Last updated: October 2021

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Methodology

How to Use the UN SDGs

How to Use the UN SDGs as a Filter Element

How to Use the UN SDGs in the Radar Chart

How to Use the UN SDGs – Other Grouping Options

How to Use the UN SDGs – Measures

How to Use the UN SDGs – Analysis Options

FAQs

 


Introduction

LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions aims to standardize the process of sustainability assessment of ongoing innovation. We have objectively mapped patents that are explicitly related to the targets and indicators mentioned in each of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to establish a logical, transparent protocol to assess the sustainability compliance of entities from the perspective of patents. Considering that applying and maintaining patents incur monetary investment LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions strategy highlights the business focus of entities that are active in the field of sustainable compliant patents.

 

Customer Problems

 

PatentSight’s Solutions

Missing standardized and global measure of SDG contributions

Patent data is an unbiased source to measure a company‘s contribution to a sustainable world

Lack of transparency in SDG reporting

Linking patents as obvious indicators for monetary commitment to SDGs, sheds light to the effort companies put into becoming SDG compliant

No accurate analysis  on SDG investment possible

Patent data in combination with LN metrics allows stakeholders a better decision-making process

Mass of non aggregated data that does not allow for quick and founded analyses

Mapping global patent data to SDG related tech-fields enables non patent experts to easily access their field of interest and gain valuable insights for their analysis

 

 

Methodology

The protocol to establish the link between the UN SDGs and the patent data is based on the framework provided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda provides 231 unique indicators for the 17 goals. It has been mentioned that these are global in nature and are universally applicable and complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels (developed by Member States).  

The indicators that are supposed to be used for tracking the progress towards the attainment of the SDGs can be mapped to advancements in science and technology as expressed through patentable inventions. The criteria for patent are defined by territorial laws though the science in the patents is universal. This is in total alignment with the UN SDG framework where the global perspective is supposed to be implemented at the national level. The technology areas with active patenting activity, that can be explicitly mapped to the SDG targets and indicators are enlisted. Discrete mapping procedure is followed.  

Each of the technologies is defined to retrieve patents that disclose inventions specific to those technology areas. The scope of each technology thus retrieved by such discrete and explicit mapping is clarified by the UN SDG metadata. The combination of related keywords with different technology classifications available for patents viz. IPC (International Patent Classification), CPC (Cooperative Patent Classification) and F-term classification is used to define each Technology.  
 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

Based on the methodology described above the PatentSight Business Intelligence offers 17 new fields containing IP which is associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The fields are named as the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 01 - No Poverty

SDG 02 - Zero Hunger

SDG 03 - Good health and well-being

SDG 04 - Quality education

SDG 05 - Gender equality

SDG 06 - Clean water and sanitation

SDG 07 - Affordable and clean energy

SDG 08 - Decent work and economic growth*

SDG 09 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG 10 - Reduced inequality*

SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities

SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production

SDG 13 - Climate action

SDG 14 - Life below water

SDG 15 - Life on land

SDG 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions*

SDG 17 - Partnership for the goals*

* Not mapped to patents yet
For further information on the individual goals please refer to: https://sdgs.un.org/goals

The Underlying Technologies of the UN SDGs

All UN SDGs consist of underlying technologies that were mapped to the UN SDG targets and indicators. To each technology a unique identifier was added (e.g., T 079 to Sustainable Packaging) that is based on an alphabetic ordering of the first 97 implemented technologies and all technologies added in the future will be added to the count (e.g., the next technology implemented will be linked to T 098). This unique identifier helps to not only find technologies quickly but also allows referencing them in the search syntax.

The technology fields based on the UN SDGs come with a factsheet in PDF format available for download. Each factsheet includes a detailed explanation of the respective UN SDG and an overview of the related UN SDG targets and indicators that define the search topics used for patent mapping. By clicking on any of the SDG-related technology fields displayed in any chart or in the search filter, you can open its context menu. Click on the PDF icon displayed in the context menu to download the PDF factsheet.

 

How to Use the UN SDGs

How to Use the UN SDGs as a Filter Element

You can use the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the underlying technology fields as search filter elements to narrow down your search to a field of interest.

To add an SDG or underlying technology to the Search Area click on „More“

Go to Technology (or simply search for “UN Sustainable Development Goals) in the search bar on the top left

Select the filter element „UN Sustainable Development Goals“

Click on the dropdown symbol of an SDG of interest to access the UN SDGs underlying technologies.

Select an UN SDG or an underlying technology of your interest by ticking the respective box.

Analyze which companies own IP associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the underlying technologies. In doing so, you can identify players heavily committed to sustainable technology.

Furthermore, you can check out how corporate portfolios associated with the UN SDGs have development over time.

 

How to Use the UN SDGs in the Radar Chart

The radar chart consists of two main segments: The outer circle is divided into sectors that contain the labels of the selected attribute (here: UN Sustainable Development Goals - Goals). The inner bars visualize the size of each sector based on the selected measure (here: Portfolio Size). The sector with the highest value occupies the maximum sector size. All other sectors are displayed relative to it.

With the radar chart you can nicely group the patents under consideration by the UN SDGs. You can mouse over each goal to show the number of patent families associated with each goal. By double-clicking on any UN SDG you can drilldown to the underlying technologies.

You can edit the radar chart according to your needs in the chart settings (select the chart and click on the little gear-wheel on the top right).

Select the attribute defining the sectors of the chart (by default this is UN SDG).

Select the attribute based on which the chart can be expanded (by default this is the underlying technologies of the UN SDG.

Define the measure which is depicted by the sector size.

Tick the check box to only show the technologies directly associated with an UN SDG. Patents can be co-assigned to other technologies associated with other UN SDGs. These will be shown when the box is unticked.

 

Of course, the UN SDGs can also be visualized in any other chart, such as the line chart. For example, it can be interesting to compare the IP which is associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the IP which is not related to the SDGs. Simply select “Not SDG related” under “Lines” in the chart settings to include this set of patents to your analysis.

With these settings you can for example analyze how the share of not SDG related technology has developed in comparison to inventions which are associated with the UN SDGs.

 

How to Use the UN SDGs – Other Grouping Options

As mentioned before, the UN SDGs and the underlying technologies can be used as a grouping in any chart or table. Simply select the attribute “UN Sustainable Development Goals” when selecting an attribute.

Click on the attribute “UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Choose if you want to group the patents under consideration by the goals or the underlying technologies.

Select how the goals and underlying technologies are shown in the chart.

 

How to Use the UN SDGs – Measures

Furthermore, PatentSight offers the measure “Share of UN Sustainable Development Goals”. This measure depicts the share of patents under consideration relatively to all (active) patents in a UN SDG or an underlying technology. Additionally, the share of Patent Asset Index of these patents relatively to the Patent Asset Index of all patents in an UN SDG or an underlying technology can be shown.

Click on the measure “Share of UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Choose if you want to show the shares relatively to the UN SDGs or the underlying technologies.

Select if you want to look at (active) patent families or the Patent Asset Index.

 

How to Use the UN SDGs – Analysis Options

By bringing the attribute “UN Sustainable Development Goals” and “Share of UN Sustainable Development Goals” together, you can for example determine how much an underlying technology is contributing to all patents in a specific UN SDG.

Also, you could analyze which share of the entire Patent Asset Index in a UN SDG or underlying technology is hold by one specific company. That way you can identify green leader in certain goals and technologies.

For your first SDG analysis in PatentSight, we recommend looking into the playbook "UN SDGs". The playbook contains a set of predefined analyses with accompanying explanations.

 

FAQs

Are the UN Sustainable Development Goals included in my subscription?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were defined by the United Nations as call global to action in times of an environmental crisis. LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions is striving to contribute to achieving the goals by introducing this unbiased measurement based on patent data. Accordingly, we want to give this to all our enterprise customers to enable them to do their analysis. Reviewer and Reader accounts will be able to incorporate the new UN SDG fields in their daily work.

How did you map patents to UN Sustainable Development Goals?

The protocol to establish the link between the UN SDGs and the patent data (inventions) is based on the framework provided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Agenda provides 231 unique indicators for the 17 goals. These are global in nature and are universally applicable and complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels (developed by Member States). The indicators that are supposed to be used for tracking the progress towards the attainment of the SDGs can be mapped to advancements in science and technology as expressed through patentable inventions.

The criteria for patents are defined by territorial laws though the science in the patents is universal. This is in total alignment with the UN SDG framework where the global perspective is supposed to be implemented at the national level. The technology areas with active patenting activity, that can be explicitly mapped to the SDG targets and indicators are enlisted. Discrete mapping procedure is followed. Each of the technology is defined to retrieve patents that disclose inventions specific to those technology areas. The scope of each technology thus retrieved by such discrete and explicit mapping is clarified by the UN SDG metadata.

The Global SDG Indicators Database maintained and regularly updated by the Statistics Division makes data on the global SDG indicators available to all users and includes both country-level data and regional and global aggregates. As of July 2019, it includes data for 166 of the 231 indicators and more than 1.2 million data records. An accompanying metadata repository provides the metadata for the indicators that have internationally established methodology and standards. Access to the country-level data and the metadata ensures full transparency with respect to the data and methodologies used for global reporting. The Database and metadata repository are maintained by the Statistics Division while the data and metadata are provided by international agencies and entities, also referred to as custodian agencies in accordance with their mandates. The combination of related keywords with different technology classifications available for patents viz. IPC (International Patent Classification), CPC (Cooperative Patent Classification) and F-term classification is used to define each technology/search topic.

 

Who set up the underlying technology fields?

All SDG related searches were defined, created and mapped by a group of LexisNexis patent search experts. In an iterative approach all underlying searches were reviewed and modified according to their results in regard to SDG compliance before finally implemented into the PatentSight analytic tool.

 

Is there a documentation for each field?

Yes. Every search will be individually defined and made available to download in the product, but also via our website. The search fields will be explained in a description, by keywords, and key CPCs. Moreover, the mapping between search fields and the UN targets and indicators are shared.

 

How are the UN Sustainable Development Goals made available in the PatentSight BI?

The UN SDGs will be available both as filter elements and as attributes to be used in all analysis. Additionally, the UN SDGs will be made available as measures.

 

What is the update interval?

The underlying searches that define the UN SDGs are executed with every new data update. This allows us to give a weekly update on those fields relevant for sustainability and new patents can be identified quickly. Moreover, the searches themselves will be adjusted if changes are introduced by the UN. Whenever, the searches are adjusted we will inform about such adjustments in order to be fully transparent.

 

Why did PatentSight use the UN Sustainable Development Goals instead of ESG fields?

Whereas ESG (Environment - Social - Governance) fields are no clearly defined categories and thus have no globally unanimous definition, any mapping of patentable technologies would be vague and arguable. The UN SDGs, however, are not only widely spread and known, but are also based on 169 defined targets, 231 detailed indicators and accompanying metadata. All in all, this allows us to distinctly map patentable, novel and innovative technologies to the wording of the United Nations and, thus, gives us a solid foundation and ratification on why and how we did the patent mapping. Every customer is free in how they make use of the UN SDGs we offer and may or may not include them in their ESG reporting. We, however, do not define any patents as ESG related as there is no holistic and structured scientific approach that we can follow.