On May 23rd 2018, the World Benchmarking Alliance together with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mumbai hosted a discussion on the role of business in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. This meeting took place during the largest ever Dutch trade mission to India and was presided over by Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The dialogue brought together corporate leaders and key sustainability representatives from some of the biggest Dutch and Indian corporations.
Minister Kaag opened the meeting, stating, “what is significant about the SDGs is that it is an agenda for all of us, and the universality of this agenda is what makes it powerful and where we can all align.” A rich dialogue developed over the course of the roundtable. Participants discussed the necessity to revolutionise CSR, seeing an opportunity within the benchmarks to craft social metrics which tackle social issues; taking benchmark impact beyond economic and environmental issues and addressing the SDGs that focus on social issues. Conversation also centred on the need for greater collaboration within the business community which would close inter-company knowledge gaps regarding sustainable business, as well as for the roles of business, government and media to be further defined so as to provide opportunities for collaboration and ultimately drive efforts across sectors. This Summary Document of the conversation outlines major themes and discussion points.
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.