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