Sustainability reporting can change the way a company does business. It also creates positive impacts for employees, customers and other stakeholders. I have seen this first-hand. Although corporate sustainability reporting and sustainability performance have improved over the past 20 years, more still needs to be done to deliver change at the scale we need.
The consultation around the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), launched in New York earlier this year, is an important development in that regard. The WBA has the potential to become an institution that would develop, fund, house and safeguard free, publicly available corporate sustainability benchmarks aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such it could play an important role in unleashing the full potential of the private sector to contribute to the SDGs.
We support this non-profit oriented mission because of three principles we share with the WBA. The first is transparency of the rating process. To drive corporate change, it is essential that companies understand how and why their performance is measured, and that the methodology is robust. It is also critical that this information is available to all stakeholders, from Investors, civil society and governments, to individual consumers. The second is a multi-stakeholder approach to developing the ratings. Just like the WBA, I believe benchmarks – and the indexes that derive from them – are only as powerful as the diversity of the actors that use them. The third principle revolves around independence from and impartiality with respect to commercial interests. This is essential for the credibility of benchmarks and for building trust between different stakeholders groups.
That’s what we need if we want to make a difference. And together we can.
Global Reporting Initiative