The impact of multinationals in developing countries

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Our mission is to build a movement to measure and incentivise business impact towards a future that works for everyone. For this reason, in all our benchmarks, engagement and operational activities, we focus on impact in developing countries.

We published a list of the 2,000 keystone companies that we believe will be most influential for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are headquartered in 74 countries with supply chains, operations and customers spread across the world. These companies were specifically selected for their global impact, influence and reach. To be able to hold companies truly to account and drive corporate progress to the realisation of the UN SDG’s in less than a decade, we need to understand the progress these companies are making.

The current pandemic shows us that when food, energy, social, financial and other critical systems lack resilience, the vulnerable and marginalised in society, particularly in developing countries, are hit disproportionally hard. Through financing, employment, supply chains and products and services, the private sector has a vast and critical role to play in creating a more sustainable and resilient future for the developing world. The lack of data availability and public disclosure is making this difficult to measure. Benchmarking has the potential to play a key role in filling these data gaps.

This report sets out our current thinking on the impact (whether positive or negative) of companies on developing countries. As we look to build a better world, it is time to get closer to these multinationals and assess the influence they can have, which goes beyond borders.

We would very much welcome feedback from interested Allies and other partners on what additional steps we can take to better understand, gather further data on and ultimately increase WBA’s positive impact in developing countries.

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