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Achieving universal human development by respecting human rights, promoting equality and empowering people to pursue the choices they value.
We are working across seven systems transformations needed to achieve the SDGs and accelerate sustainable business beyond 2030. The social transformation underpins and enables the transformation across the seven systems. Over the last 25 years, the world has witnessed impressive progress in human development, but this development hasn’t reached everyone. Whilst more children are going to school, more people have access to basic social services and people are living for longer, inequality is on the rise, and the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen.
Human rights, development and empowerment should be at the core of business action and aspiration. Companies and their investors have a responsibility to respect human rights and support civic freedoms and the rule of law, as well as those who defend them. Only when companies act to eliminate the human rights risks in their operations and value chains can they truly drive people-centred sustainable development. To do this, companies must be transparent and realise their accountability to be leaders of societal empowerment.
The SDGs promote a movement which envisions a world where ‘all life can thrive’. For this to be possible, human rights must be respected, basic human needs be met and we must transform the current societal structures that constrain the empowerment of people. These changes are captured most profoundly in the following SDGs:
All companies need to be assessed on their contribution to the social transformation. As part of this system, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and the Gender Equality and Empowerment Benchmark track progress.
WBA will assess the 2,000 keystone companies against a common set of core social expectations that all companies must meet. How companies perform against these expectations will have a material impact on their performance in subsequent transformation benchmarks, by weighting or limiting their final score. They will act as responsible business conduct ‘hurdles’ which companies must clear to be given credit for their contribution to the SDGs. for that reason in April 2020 the Social transformation scoping report was published.
Corporate Human Rights
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.