Benchmarks and league-tables with transparency and openness at their very core have the power to change the way in which we look at and understand business. This will help to transform our societies and the world.

If that’s the starting point, what is there not to like or get behind? Establishing the WBA has been a bold ambition from the beginning. But as one of the concrete and actionable ideas supporting the SDGs, it has truly captured the imagination of many, including Aviva. It doesn’t require a policy change or legislation, which means we can move at a quick pace and create the type of organisation our Allies want to support and be a part of.

And this is what we have been doing. We’ve run a global consultation and brought together partners to discuss the SDGs and what they need to be achieved. Our Guiding Principles state that the WBA is collaborative and inclusive. It’s an initiative shaped by the Allies, because it’s never going to be successful and have the transformational impact it needs to have if it’s only the product of the three founding organisations.

For Aviva, the WBA helps to drive forward capital market reform. This is what we need in order to move money to where it’s needed the most. The WBA is neither opt-in, nor opt-out, which means those companies that have the biggest impact on sustainability will be in scope and measured. As an investor, Aviva will use the results to have a dialogue with companies about their sustainability issues and where improvements need to be made.

This dialogue – be it between investors and companies, within companies or with civil society – is a unique attribute of the WBA. The dialogue itself starts to force the change in the system, and we can start to measure impact from day one. The spotlight on the best and worst performers comes later, with the publication of the rankings, but the journey itself starts much earlier.

For our Allies, the finding that the dialogue itself creates the impact should be one of the most compelling. Without them, the dialogue isn’t nearly as powerful as it needs to be. This is why Aviva is building the WBA and helping to drive it forward. We truly believe in its potential to change the world for the better.

Pauliina Murphy 

Head of International Government Engagement, Aviva
WBA Co-founder and member of the Steering Committee for the WBA Consultation