Each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 169 corresponding targets address the needs of people and the planet we share. Collectively they are an ambition infinitely bigger than the realm of any single institution. Yet we need all of us to put our voice and weight behind them. In order to succeed, the SDGs need institutions that are deeply committed to meeting those needs and are aware that this can only be done if we work together.

This may read like a platitude, but it is one we believe to be so real and essential – and yet so easy to forget in our everyday work – that we have to keep reminding ourselves.

This is especially true as we create the World Benchmarking Alliance. We can not only use the SDG Agenda as our North Star, we need to work in its spirit. This is what the Alliance is about. Generally, an alliance is understood to be a union based on an affinity in interests and mutual benefit. We want to create an alliance with more meaning than that – one that helps the WBA and its Allies to become better and more effective at helping deliver the SDGs.

We realise that only through the formation of a genuine Alliance can the WBA be effective as a global institution, capable of developing and delivering high quality benchmarks. We believe that our Allies bring credibility, accountability and expertise: credibility in that the Alliance brings the best experts together; accountability as the breadth of stakeholders ensure the benchmarks address real societal needs; and lastly, expertise as Allies will be actively helping us build the benchmarks and the institution itself.

Over the next year we can continue to shape the Alliance, deepen the ties between Allies and become more effective in delivering benchmarks and creating a bigger impact. We are, nevertheless, very aware that being an alliance of diverse groups will not serve everyone and everything at once. Despite the pressure to deliver, we must continue to listen, to be understanding of one another and to accept compromises at times. In this way, the Alliance can contribute to a world in which the success of business is measured by its contribution to society, delivering tangible impact.

Gerbrand Haverkamp

Executive Director, World Benchmarking Alliance
WBA Co-founder and member of the Steering Committee for the WBA Consultation