Mr. Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Mahindra Group, attended our seventh roundtable in Mumbai on 14th March along with twenty-nine other participants.

 

Why did you attend the roundtable? I saw the roundtable as an opportunity to explore existing SDG action within the South Asian region, as well as to learn from the sustainability perceptions and motivations of others in attendance. I have been involved in many discussions concerning the SDGs, but the WBA’s approach was something new. I was intrigued to see how the open-format would generate more interaction between individuals working across sectors as well as new avenues for partnership.

What was one of the key insights you gained from the roundtable? The SDGs are multidimensional, and the multi-stakeholder conversations during the session highlighted the power of aligning different perceptions around one common goal; or as the prospective benchmarks will aim to do, around SDG-Industry intersections. I see an immense possibility for collaboration because I know we won’t be able to solve these issues alone. From my experience, sustainable interventions take much manpower and I believe the WBA can play a part in developing more actionable partnerships on the ground.

What are you most excited about when you look to the future of the WBA? I see great value in assessing and then benchmarking the sustainability performance of companies against the SDGs. When benchmarks can help companies to navigate sustainability challenges within their industry – through guiding performance, highlighting where improvement is necessary, and directing focus to new areas where impact is lagging – we are developing a truly sophisticated perspective of sustainable change.

 

 

Hilma Immonen, from Generation Why, attended our Youth Consultations in Bonn on the 22nd and 23rd March along with 18 other participants.

 

Why did you attend the roundtable? I was interested to learn more about the method behind benchmarking the performance of companies across industries and SDGs. I believe benchmarking companies’ performance against each other can be a powerful way to mobilize companies to act. When companies can see what strategic measures are possible to implement in their industry, I believe others might indeed follow as they would not want to fall behind with a bad sustainability performance compared to their competitors.

What was one of the key insights you gained from the roundtable? Although I was aware of the complex causal relationships of the social, environmental, economic and governance dimensions of sustainability, the youth consultation broadened my attention to the complexities and interlinkage of SDG impact across sectors. This shows again the holistic nature of the SDGs and why they are a powerful framework, for no sector can go untouched by their presence. For example, I believe the role of the media industry in generating awareness and promoting sustainable frontrunners is significant in pushing long-term SDG implementation. The international setting was another highlight from the roundtable, as it enabled the broad discussion to develop global and cross-sectoral insights. For example, attendees from less democratic countries highlighted the value of education to a much higher extent than those participants coming from countries where education is a matter of course.

What are you most excited about when you look to the future of the WBA? I’m very interested to see whether companies will cooperate with the WBA and disclose their (good and bad) strategies and possible impacts. Furthermore, I am intrigued to see how the WBA will effectively mobilize companies to implement better strategies for SDG implementation worldwide and what the real-world impacts will be.

 

Alejandra Camara, managing director of GENESIS and advisor in green finance to the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange (BCBA), attended our eighth roundtable in Buenos Aires on 20th March along with thirty-four other participants.

 

Why did you attend the roundtable? Having worked in the private sector for most of my career, I have always been interested in looking at how we can enrich the sustainability dialogue and action within the sector in Argentina. I was particularly interested to hear more about the design and implementation process of the WBA’s benchmarks. With a background in finance, I am driven by the power of metrics. For I believe that without metrics, there is no way of instigating, guiding and achieving sustainable change.

What was one of the key insights you gained from the roundtable? I value the time and emphasis the WBA placed on gathering global perceptions during their consultations, and see much potential for this approach to create new pathways for change. However, I believe Argentina has much ground to cover in terms of how sustainability is understood across public, private and civil sectors. I was very pleased to see that many of the sustainability challenges I have observed during my career fall within the WBA’s scope, but further multi-stakeholder engagement, with evidence and clear metrics, is needed to unify perceptions and action. 

What are you most excited about when you look to the future of the WBA? I think the WBA has a herculean task ahead, particularly here in Argentina. Having said that, I do feel that competition matters in the private sector. I believe benchmarks can challenge the role of business here in my region. If the WBA can create a certain degree of peer-comparability in its rankings, supported through social and economic investment to enforce pressure, I believe the benchmarks have every chance of success.