“The lack of good, long-term leadership is a major challenge to the sustainability agenda”

An interview with Chris Coulter co-CEO, and Eric Whan Director, of GlobeScan

GlobeScan helped the WBA to collect insights from sustainability experts by gauging their attitudes towards new SDG-orientated benchmarks and requesting their views on the best approach and methodology for developing these benchmarks. Chris Coulter, co-CEO of GlobeScan, described this experience as “kindred spirits putting our heads together” and explained that although the idea of ranking organisations already existed, the special attention to the SDGs was unique. “The WBA’s focus on filling the corporate gaps around the SDGs is very timely, and we are especially impressed with the coalition approach the Alliance has taken,” he said. Eric Whan, a Director at GlobeScan, also commended the WBA for its broad-based effort and for pursuing such a large-scale engagement during the consultation phase. “The more people we have at the table, the better. It can only contribute to success” Whan affirmed.

Whan expressed that it was evident that a broad group of companies are already engaging with the SDG agenda, using it as an organising framework and aligning their existing strategies to one or more of the Global Goals. While the survey insights are encouraging, SDG involvement will prove ineffective on a large scale without ensuring that large companies are also on board. “We have a ticking timebomb with the issues that the SDGs seek to solve. We have an emboldened and engaged civil society, but it lacks the power and authority to drive it forward. The real challenge lies with governance, from politicians to more long-term corporate leadership,” emphasised Coulter. The need for stronger leadership is pressing, without which the SDGs will never be achieved. Coulter stated that “If the WBA provides clarity on the role of the private sector through the development of benchmarks, and if companies and investors engage in the right way to mobilise support for strong and not weak performers, then a big opportunity lies ahead.”


This interview was included in the final publication we published in September 2018, prior to our launch. You can read the entire publication below, to find out what we have learned, what insights people gave us and how we experienced our consultation phase. 

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