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

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:

WBA’s benchmarks

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.

Social transformation

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


Social transformation

Scoping report

Other transformations


Agriculture and food

and energy




Financial system