Aviva, Index Initiative and the UN Foundation share the belief that the private sector can strongly contribute to, as well as benefit from, the global ambition of the SDGs and that corporate performance benchmarks are powerful levers for change. Each saw that SDG-centred benchmarks were a missing piece of the puzzle, and the WBA represented an opportunity that could not be missed to fill that gap.
It was these common beliefs brought the partners together.
Index Initiative published a landscape study Unravelling the Role of the Private Sector in September 2015 and was conducting a scoping research to find the critical SDG-industry intersections where corporate benchmarks would have most impact. Aviva was championing corporate league tables for the BSDC’s Better Business, Better World report released in January 2017. Aware of both ambitions, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) introduced Aviva and Index Initiative. The UN Foundation, also involved closely with BSDC, joined Aviva and the Index Initiative and the path towards WBA was set into motion.
Support from the Dutch government enabled Index Initiative to perform their initial scoping exercise. Support from the Danish and UK governments during the roundtable consultations has proven instrumental in forming the WBA. These countries’ involvement has expanded the reach of conversations about the WBA and strengthened its purpose, by connecting the Alliance with similar initiatives already in place not only to encourage it, but also constructively challenge its objectives.
In addition to the founding partners and supporting governments, a diverse range of stakeholders played an important role in forming the WBA. In response to the initial buzz surrounding the SDGs, the WBA tapped into the global mass of ideas and invited stakeholders to help build momentum around the Alliance. The meeting of these like-minded organisations and the partnering of their shared perspectives created a powerful synergy which quickly grew into what the WBA is today.
Aviva is a multinational insurance company who has identified a critical role for sustainable investments in the SDGs. It believes in the strong influence of benchmarks to prompt in-depth dialogues with companies on their sustainability performance to reform capital markets and direct money to where it matters most.
Index Initiative, a non-profit organisation based in Amsterdam, seeks to propel the use of benchmarks to engage companies in advancing the SDGs. It strives to bring clarity to the role and performance of companies in contributing to the goals most relevant to their core business, while providing stakeholders and the wider public with free and accessible research and benchmarks.
The UN Foundation connects people, ideas and resources with the United Nations to mobilise the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organisations in tackling global issues. Its work is guided by a belief in the power of partnerships and an understanding that transformative change requires transformative approaches to problem-solving.