The EIRIS Foundation is a registered charity working in the area of responsible investment. We see the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) as having great potential to inspire and accelerate the adoption of best practices in the “corporate behaviour” dimension of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As well as highlighting and encouraging investment in companies whose products and services contribute to the achievement of other SDGs in 2030.
This aligns well with our mission to use research, analysis and influence to identify gaps, barriers, opportunities so that we can help organisations and individuals maximise their contribution to the responsible business and investment agenda. It also fits well with two of our strategies: spreading corporate responsibility best practices, and encouraging effective and transformative engagement with companies by investors (in this second case because the SDGs tackle systemic behavioural change as well as transformative investment). In achieving these goals we are actively working towards fostering knowledge transfer and building momentum with regards to best practice as well as encouraging corporate leadership across a spectrum of sustainability issues with a strong focus on the SDGs.
One of the projects we have helped to initiate and develop is the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark(also an ally of the WBA), which is a unique collaboration led by investors and civil society organisations dedicated to creating the first open and public benchmark on corporate human rights performance. The success of the CHRB in encouraging large companies to demonstrate leadership in human rights provides an excellent example of the power of a well-implemented, well-researched benchmark.
We wholeheartedly support the view of the WBA that credible, publicly-available benchmarks tap into the competitive nature of the business and investment market. Over time, these benchmarks can assist in influencing the changes needed to ensure a sustainable economy and therefore a more sustainable world. Assessing the impact of companies on the SDGs – both positive and negative – is an enormous challenge for all stakeholders involved, and will certainly not be possible for any one group acting in isolation. The WBA is set to play a vital role in fostering multi-stakeholder engagement and co-operation in developing and disseminating benchmarks that will ultimately contribute to achieving the SDGs, and the EIRIS Foundation is proud to be an ally in this important and timely initiative.
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.