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Fund manager Aviva, in partnership with Index Initiative, the United Nations Foundation and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, has launched the consultation phase of the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA). This global multi-stakeholder initiative aims to develop and publish free to access, publicly available benchmarks ranking companies on their sustainability performance and contributions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Benchmarking Alliance
Business expected to help achieve the sustainable development goals

Consultations will be held in the form of regional roundtable discussions, an online consultation and interviews. A report bringing together the views expressed is due to be published in May 2018.

Speaking in New York at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, Mark Wilson, said: Our idea is simple. We turn the SDGs into a corporate competitive sport. We draw up transparent data on performance towards meeting the SDGs, and we rank companies according to how well they are doing. This will motivate a race to the top and is what the proposed World Benchmarking Alliance is all about.”

The launch of the consultation on the World Benchmarking Alliance came as a report was published by the UN Global Compact which assessed how well participant companies are embedding its 10 principles into their strategies and operations to ensure that business activities are aligned with the universal values and declarations of the  United Nations. This report also contained the first assessment of how businesses are contributing to the 17 SDGs.

The report found that since the SDGs were launched two years ago 75% of companies have actions in place to address the goals. The goals with the most activities are Goal 8: Good Jobs and Economic Growth, Goal 3: Good health and Well-Being, and Goal 5: Gender Equality. The research found there is a low level of activity in support of Goal 16: Peace and Justice, Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Goal 15: Life on Land and Goal 14: Life Below Water.

The report stated that the main ways that businesses are acting on the SDGs are through embedding
this into their core business and building partnerships. Disclosure of their actions on sustainability has also improved with 70% of companies reporting publicly and 55% of businesses noting that reporting helps them embed sustainability into the business.

To support companies to integrate the SDGs into their businesses the Earth Security Group has produced a report which provides a roadmap for companies. It is hoped that this will help global businesses to align their growth to the demands for social inclusion and environmental security that are defining the countries in which they operate, whilst understanding the risks and opportunities reflected in the wider SDG agenda.

Last Updated: 22 September 2017
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