As lead research for Index Initiative, Lisanne is helping to construct the analytical backbone to the World Benchmarking Alliance’s consultation publications, discussions and platforms. Her involvement in the regional and global consultations is connecting her background research on the SDGs and industries with the practical expertise of stakeholders across the globe; helping to direct focus to the areas where benchmarks have the potential to be most impactful. With regards to the regional consultations she reflects, “it’s interesting how discussions vary from region to region. We are discovering much value in meeting personally with multi-sector stakeholders from different regions as this is providing us with important perspectives on relevant SDGs and sectors for each region and on building the alliance. I believe understanding these perspectives is crucial when developing the benchmarks.”
“Participants agreed that for the WBA to be successful, it needs to be inclusive for all stakeholders, giving each stakeholder group equal weight in the conversation. Making sure that everybody around the world can have a say in how the WBA is shaped and built is important to safeguard this inclusiveness. This requires true ability to listen to different stakeholders both when establishing the WBA and throughout the benchmark development process”.
Through her role as lead research, Lisanne has helped to frame a range of consultation activities including roundtable design and discussions as well as the WBA’s online engagements: “Next to the global and regional consultations we are consulting people all over the world on what they believe to be critical intersections between the SDGs and industries through a series of online surveys. These intersections will then help to inform future benchmark development. Through two surveys, one for professionals and another for the broader public, we are able to gather truly global perspectives on the SDGs whilst at the same time matching these findings with more detailed standpoints on benchmark design and institutional structure.” For Lisanne, it’s about merging stakeholder perspectives with more technical expertise on intersections and benchmarks, as this is what she believes can make the WBA truly responsive. “The global and regional consultations address similar topics covered in the online consultations, bringing together varying participants from multiple sectors through open group discussions and brainstorms. Reflections on stakeholder priorities, benchmark design and the alliance are addressed alongside regional contexts and concerns. It’s a complex, but exciting process, and each consultation channel strengthens the other.”
“Participants concluded…that if the idea is to change corporate behaviour, the needs of stakeholders should be addressed across multiple dimensions – from the engagement of shareholders with a stake in the companies being benchmarked to the consumers buying or relying on the products and services provided by these companies.”
With the end of the consultation phase on the horizon, Lisanne is now beginning to look ahead to what will come next. This involves compiling and analysing the vast sums of collected data and findings and making a start scoping some of the potential WBA benchmarks.
“The potential scale and impact of the World Benchmarking Alliance is massive. We are an organisation with a global ambition, and that is at once exciting as it is challenging”
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.