Business Initiatives Advance SDG Reporting, Engagement
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The UN Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative launched the Action Platform for corporate reporting on the SDGs.

Regional CSR networks are working on engagement of the private sector in achieving the SDGs.

The Multilateral Development Banks agreed on leveraging resources to encourage private sector investment in sustainable infrastructure.

5 April: The UN Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have launched the Action Platform for Reporting on the SDGs. The initiative aims to provide a framework for businesses to assess and report on their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using both the GRI Standards, a sustainability reporting standard, and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the launch event for the Platform on 27 March 2017, in The Hague, Netherlands. Planned outcomes include a preliminary analysis of business disclosures on the SDGs, and a handbook on best practices in business reporting on the SDGs.

According to GRI, “transparency is fast becoming the new paradigm for conducting business,” but there are not yet established best practices for corporate reporting on the SDGs. The platform will enable businesses to “incorporate SDG reporting into their existing processes,” easing action to help achieve the SDGs, noted Teresa Fogelberg, GRI.

The Platform includes a Corporate Action Group through which business representatives can define and promote their contributions to the SDGs. Members include Danone, Grupo Nutresa, Coca-Cola, Cemex, Telecom Italia, Nestle and Fuji Xerox.

Another body of the Platform, the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee, comprises the Corporate Action Group as well as representatives from governments, international and civil society organizations, investors, trade unions, data users, statistical offices and academics. Members include the World Bank, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Oxfam, RobecoSAM, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Governments of the Netherlands and Colombia. The Committee will guide companies in aligning with the SDGs and reporting to show their contributions.

The Action Platform will contribute to a list of prioritized disclosures for tracking business contributions to the SDGs.

According to GRI, the Committee will help to deliver a “global list of prioritized disclosures for tracking business contributions to the SDGs,” for presentation during the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), at Business Day on 18 July.

GRI also reports that, in September 2017, the platform will release guidelines and best practices for reporting on the SDGs, and that its second year will focus on mobilizing businesses to demonstrate tangible steps that have contributed to achievement of the SDGs.

In other activity on engaging business in the SDGs, the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe) and GlobeScan are conducting a survey of European companies on their involvement in the Goals. The 12-question survey asks about companies’ level of awareness, reasons that top-level management may not be addressing the SDGs, a ranking of the SDGs in order of priority for businesses, ways to make it easier for businesses to integrate the SDGs, including what the European Commission could do, and other questions. The findings will be presented at the European Business Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on 22 May 2017.

In the Asia-Pacific region, a CSR network supported by the UN Global Compact recognized leaders in global responsible business at its 2017 awards programme. The award recognizes leaders who excel in corporate sustainability and corporate responsibility, highlight the winners as “benchmarks” who exemplify sustainable business practices that align with the SDGs, and create a network of professionals and practitioners committed to sustainability. The criteria include achieving “triple bottom line success” in relation to the 17 SDGs.

In a dialogue with ministers of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), representatives of the Pacific private sector called for reforms to support access to non-traditional business finance, such as crowd-funding, social investors and angel financing. They also expressed support for policies to facilitate adoption of green economy business practices, and highlighted the need to improve performance on indicators for ease of doing business, especially for micro- and small enterprises. The dialogue took place as part of the annual meeting of PIF economic ministers, convening on the theme, ‘financing for development solutions.”

Finally, on 22 April, leaders of several multilateral development banks agreed to work together to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The MDBs pledged to leverage their resources by co-financing projects together, as well as to help generate interest among private sector investors in public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the development of infrastructure as an asset class for institutional investors, in order to help achieve the SDGs. The MDBs’ joint statement was issued at the 2017 meeting of the Global Infrastructure Forum (GIF), which took place on the sidelines of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, US. The Banks have also created a reference guide on PPPs, country data, information on specific infrastructure sectors, key databases and other tools. [GRI Press Release on 3BL] [Action Platform Flyer] [GRI Press Release] [Action Platform Introduction] [GlobeScan/CSR Europe Survey] [CSR Europe] [Asia Pacific CSR Council] [2017 Awards] [Asia Pacific CSR Council Press Release] [PIF Press Release] [MDB Statement] [GIF Website] [GIF Event Information] [PPP Reference Guide] [EIB Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on GIF]


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