The rights to our online personal data has become a dominant subject in the media recently, not least with the Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Many have been left questioning how we share information online and to what extent we trust the services and platforms we use to keep connected. Concerns around our digital footprint – who has access to it and what consequence that may have – has shifted conversations surrounding human rights into the digital domain. We find ourselves questioning what are our individual rights to the data that ourselves and others continually disseminate online?
The implementation of the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) arrives at a pivotal time. The sentiment of the GDPR is to give greater security to personal data and to enable individuals to access and control what data is being stored so it can be modified or deleted. As countless GDPR emails flooded our inboxes in recent weeks asking us, sometimes characterfully, to re-enlist as subscribers, we found ourselves as an organisation asking what this change in law really means to us?
Our mission is to develop a new angle on benchmarking which aligns global industries and guides corporate performance in line with the SDGs, with the ultimate aim of impact. Whether we achieve what we want to achieve is dependent on data; from the quantified data with numbers and statistics which will help form the metrics capable of authentically ranking SDG performance, to the qualitative stories which weave in human perceptions and ideas so as to expand the reach of our work. That our benchmarks must be free, transparent and publicly accessible is central to their success.
As a benchmarking alliance we found the GDPR’s ‘right to be forgotten’ an interesting concept. At a first glance this principle seems to encompass greater privacy and rights to removal, which may be seemingly contrary to our reporting system. But as the WBA strive towards creating comparable benchmarks, we see how this concept can become integrated into our methodology. As we build partnerships, companies are acknowledging not only how they may have a negative impact but also pledging their efforts in improving their practices. In this sense, companies can improve their performance and earn the ‘right to be forgotten’ from previous lower rankings. The desire to have any data ‘forgotten’ that has broader consequences is only earnt through stakeholders taking stock, realising their accountability and ultimately stepping up their sustainability game. Data-shared is data-power!
Aviva is one of the world’s largest insurance and asset management companies, its history tracing back more than 300 years. It has operations in 16 markets around the world, but through its investment portfolio, Aviva’s reach extends to a broader and larger group of consumers. The company is a LEAD member of the Global Compact; a founding member of both the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative. It is also a frontrunner in responsible investments, using its influence to support more sustainable business and ultimately a more sustainable economy and society. Aviva is an active contributor and user of different corporate sustainability benchmarks, including a founding member of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Aviva’s CEO Mark Wilson is a member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) and is personally committed to driving forward the sustainable development agenda and the creation of the WBA.
The Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) aims to make a powerful business case for achieving a sustainable, inclusive economy. Its flagship report Better Business, Better World, launched in January 2017, maps the economic prize for companies that align with the SDGs, and shows how to achieve them. The report includes the creation of SDGs benchmarks as one of the key recommendations. The Business Commission aims to make a powerful business case for achieving a sustainable and inclusive economy, if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are achieved. In its flagship report, Better Business, Better World, the Commission describes how business can contribute to delivering these goals. Chaired by Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, the Commission include 37 leaders from business, finance, civil society, labour, and international organisations from around the world.p>
Index Initiative is a centre of expertise in benchmarking corporate performance against stakeholder expectations. It seeks to propel the use of benchmarks to engage and bring purpose and clarity on the role of companies in contributing to the SDGs closest to their core business. A non-profit based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Index Initiative’s research and benchmarks are free and accessible to all. Index Initiative will conduct the global consultation on the World Benchmarking Alliance.
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors.