The Global Reporting Initiative published recommendations on strengthening national-level progress on the SDGs with the use of corporate reporting.
In particular, it outlines ways for governments to capture business action on the SDGs in their Voluntary National Reviews, to help countries prepare for the July 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has published recommendations on strengthening national-level progress on the SDGs with the use of corporate reporting. In particular, it outlines ways for governments to capture business action on the SDGs in their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).
To better harness the participation of the private sector in SDG implementation, the report titled, ‘Using Corporate Reporting to Strengthen Sustainable Development Goals,’ recommends that governments:
- Involve the private sector in every step of SDGs implementation;
- Facilitate and enforce effective SDGs disclosure by companies with best practice guidelines and regulations for mandatory reporting;
- Align with existing, widely used corporate disclosure practices and frameworks, such as the GRI Standards;
- Develop a measurement and monitoring tool to track private sector input, beginning with data made available through corporate sustainability reports, which is called for in SDG target 12.6; and
- Enable regular dialogue between business, policy, and investors to encourage collaboration and reinforce their respective SDGs contributions.
The publication, which was released on 8 April 2020, aims to help countries prepare for the next round of VNRs during the July 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). According to the GRI authors, the VNR process provides “the perfect platform” for collaboration to increase impact. Capturing the contribution of the private sector is necessary for understanding what actions are needed and who can take them in order to achieve the SDG targets in each country.
Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI, said it is “already clear that progress is too slow” on achieving the Goals, making partnerships and collaboration crucial. He encouraged policy makers to “do more to understand and make the most of the contribution from the private sector.”
The publication provides an overview of how VNRs to date have captured business contributions to the SDGs. In 2018, six countries included a specific section on the private sector: Ecuador, Greece, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary, and Uruguay.
In 2019, GRI reports that:
- Iceland recognized the key role of disclosing sustainability data and benchmarking companies, with a SDGs governmental working group engaged with the national center for corporate social responsibility to engage business on the SDGs;
- Mongolia recognized the need to encourage sustainability reporting by companies based on global principles and good national practices;
- Turkey conducted sectoral sustainability research covering reporting and SDG target 12.6, which concluded that more effort needs directed towards implementing corporate reporting practices; and
- The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued sustainability reporting guidelines for listed companies, which provides a framework for reporting on corporate contributions to the SDGs.
The report also shares examples of how countries are advancing SDG target 12.6: “Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.” Most countries do not share data on their efforts to fulfill this target, GRI report. In 2019, only nine countries provided such an update.
The authors stress that by increased business reporting on sustainability impacts would provide policy actors with valuable data to improve the assessment and implementation of the SDGs in their countries, and it would enable a government to engage with businesses on their contributions to the SDGs.
The report was developed with financial support from the Government of Sweden. [GRI press release] [Publication: Using Corporate Reporting to Strengthen Sustainable Development Goals: Recommendations for National Policy Makers]