The 2023 independent evaluation of WBA

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The second independent evaluation of the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) assesses WBA’s first five years of operation an identifies lessons learned and ways to enhance our influence and impact. The 2023 independent evaluation was carried out by Technopolis Group.  

A theory of change covering four impact pathways guided the evaluation, focusing on the mechanisms towards outcomes and impacts of the benchmarks. They include:  

  • Race to the top: benchmarks instil competitive behaviour among companies that want to be among the top ranked firms in relation to sustainable and social practices.  
  • Learning: benchmarks provide a structured form of learning for all willing and able companies in the ranking of why their performance is suboptimal, and provides directions regarding improvement.  
  • Pressure on the laggards: benchmarks are often used by other actors (investors, civil society, governments, citizens) to pressure lagging firms into improving their outcomes.  
  • Policy change: benchmarks and the wider movements around them may inform and induce policy and regulatory change, in particular for supranational frameworks (EU regulations, UN standards, etc.). 

The evaluation confirmed several key achievements and finds that WBA has established itself quickly as a leading independent benchmarking organisation and is an important contributor and enabler to improving corporate accountability across transformations. The evaluation found that the benchmarks and engagement with WBA have important learning effects for companies. In addition, the impact pathway of pressure by external stakeholders such as investors, NGOs, civil society, media and the broader Alliance, has clear potential. Although investors are already using benchmarks as a tool to engage with (potential) investees and use WBA assessments in their investment decisions, there is limited evidence that NGOs and civil society organisations are actively using the benchmark results to push companies to change their policies and practices. Lastly, the evaluation finds that informing and supporting public policy changes based on benchmarks has strong potential but is a process that requires more time. You can find the full evaluation report here 

The evaluation also provides a number of valuable recommendations and WBA is reassured to see that through the strategic direction we have embarked upon, we have already taken some steps to move in the direction that the evaluation recommends. WBA’s response to the evaluation and next steps are outlined in WBA’s Management Response

Read the response
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