The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) have released “A Practical Guide” to enable companies to better measure and report on their impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new publication, Integrating the SDGs Into Corporate Reporting: A Practical Guide, helps companies of all sizes to prioritize SDG targets to act and report on, set related business objectives, and measure and report on progress.
The 17 SDGs are anticipated to generate over US$12 trillion worth of savings and revenue by 2030, which makes thousands of small and large companies around the world well incentivized to work towards achieving the goals. After a 2017 report revealed sluggish progress on achieving the Goals, a number of resources have cropped up to help support companies in making the most of the opportunities inherent in strategizing around the SDGs — a framework, Gold Standard for the Global Goals, for quantifying, certifying and maximizing the contributions of climate and development interventions toward the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs; a report from Gold Standard and WWF Switzerland that helps the private sector define and deliver ambitious strategies to achieve the goals; and Trucost’s SDG Evaluation Tool, which provides a quantitative analysis of corporate performance on the SDGs across the value chain, to name a few — but until now, the lack of a uniform methodology for companies to measure and report on their contributions to the Global Goals had become a stumbling block.
“Effective corporate reporting is key to building trust and aligning investment through transparency and accountability. This guide helps businesses move beyond the current trend of simply mapping activities and programs against the SDGs to driving change,” says Tim Mohin, Chief Executive at GRI.
Developed with support from Shift and PwC — and as part of the Action Platform on Reporting on the SDGs — this new Practical Guide completes a toolkit that aims to boost and improve businesses’ reporting on the Goals and their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
The guide does not create a new reporting framework but builds on the UNGC’s Ten Principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. It discourages businesses from selecting SDGs and related targets based on what is easiest for them to report on. Rather, companies should focus on what accounts for the highest priorities and, therefore, is material for their business. The report calls for companies to report on both their positive and negative impacts on the SDGs.
Says Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UNGC: “By reporting on actions, contributions and impact towards the Sustainable Development Goals, businesses can address the information needs of governments, investors, and other stakeholders and enhance their accountability to society.”