6 June 2020
Collaboration between GRI and the United Nations Global Compact
One of the principal concerns with many people starting out on their sustainability journey is the sheer number of reporting organisations and frameworks that exist for sustainability reporting.
As reported by Sustainability Reports here, whilst companies are increasingly responding to investor demands for more environmental, social and governance (ESG) information, there are so many competing frameworks that the problem has now become how to validate and analyse this data so that it can be interpreted by investors, rather than the absence of information altogether.
In our view, the manifold reporting mechanisms are indicative of a young and largely voluntary reporting industry and we expect that as it matures, the reporting methodologies will also mature, with more alignment and overlap.
Many organisations such as TCFD, GRI and CDP are already making efforts to align their reporting requirements so that there is a more consistent and comparable approach across sustainability platforms, and so that organisations do not need to duplicate work should they report via various portals. One topic that has gained a significant amount of exposure in the sustainability reporting arena are the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which were adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The SDGs comprise 17 goals against which many entities measure their success in sustainability terms, however the goals were never intended to be a benchmark or reporting framework and as such a best practice for corporate reporting is yet to be established.
The UN Global Compact and GRI have formed an Action Platform to tackle this challenge. The Action Platform – Business Reporting on the SGDs – is a collaborative initiative which will complement the GRI Standards and the UN Global Compact Communication on Progress and will enable measuring and reporting on the SDGs.
The deliverables include:
- Analysis of the Goals and Targets, a report which aims to help companies understand how they are impacting the SDGs and their targets
- Integrating the SDGs into Corporate Reporting: A Practical Guide, a report which includes three steps for companies to embed the SDGs in existing business and reporting processes in alignment with GRI standards and recognised principles; and
- In Focus: Addressing Investor Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs, which provides additional information about investor-relevant aspects of corporate reporting.
The reports were produced in 2017 and 2018, and so whilst they are not novel, they serve as a useful reminder on how to integrate various sustainability reporting outputs. The reports can be found here.