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.

Lisa Stonestreet

EIRIS Foundation