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The inaugural consultation of the World Benchmarking Alliance, held on 19 September in New York on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, brought together thirty-four participants representing companies, investors, civil society, international organisations, foundations, and research institutions. This Summary Document of the conversation outlines major themes and discussion points. Over the coming months, we will continue to engage in converstations with key stakeholders via a series of global and regional consultations.
The founding partners of the World Benchmarking Alliance – Aviva, UN Foundation, Index Initiative and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission launched the consultation phase of the World Benchmarking Alliance at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York. This global multi-stakeholder initiative will develop and publish free to access, publicly available benchmarks ranking companies on their sustainability performance and contributions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Aviva, the UN Foundation, BSDC and Index Initiative organized a roundtable during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. This briefing was the key document to prepare for this roundtable, and presents the key rationale for and added value of producing free, publicly accessible league tables to help investors, civil society, and governments assess corporate performance in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. The topics and questions listed within do not represent prescriptive aspects for discussion, but rather considerations to help kickstart the formal consultation. This document will be updated and expanded based on feedback, with the aim of developing recommendations around the need to develop, fund, house, and safeguard SDG-related league tables within a formal institution, tentatively described here as the World Benchmarking Alliance.
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.