The The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) initiative is a great example of what can be achieved when stakeholders across civil society, business, governments and consumers connect their thinking and collaborate together to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed in 2015, are the milestones marking the path towards the future we want. These goals cannot be achieved without the firm commitment of the private sector to work with government and civil society to deliver the solutions and investments needed to achieve the SDGs. Many of the world’s leading companies are already aligning their business models with the SDGs. However, information and analysis of corporate sustainability performance remains hard to access or compare, making it difficult to credit leaders or hold laggards to account.
A powerful and potentially transformative way to address this challenge is the production of international league tables measuring and comparing corporate performance on the SDGs. The global need for such league tables is widely acknowledged, from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) to the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. These league tables require sophisticated benchmarks that can provide financial institutions, companies, governments, and civil society with information they can use to allocate capital, increase transparency, track and compare corporate sustainability performance, and ultimately catalyse action and accelerate SDG delivery.
This is why we have worked with the UN Foundation, BSDC, and the Index Initiative to create the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) which was launched on 24 September 2018 in New York on the eve of the General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The WBA’s mission is to provide everyone with access to information that indicates how companies are contributing to the SDGs. It will do so by developing free and publicly available corporate sustainability benchmarks that rank companies on their sustainability performance and contribution to achieving the SDGs.
The WBA’s launch followed a year of international consultations, expert meetings, and online surveys, with more than 10,000 stakeholders representing business, civil society, government and consumers themselves. Through this collaboration, the WBA defined its vision, institutional structure, and priorities in terms of focus industries and SDGs.
2019 saw continued development of the benchmarking methodologies including; a gender equality and women’s empowerment benchmark, food and agriculture, and digital inclusion. Results for the climate and energy, sustainable seafood, and corporate human rights were also published.
2020 will see the continued development and publication of the benchmarks and the launch of 2,000 ‘keystone’ companies that will be assessed by all benchmarks. The WBA is also expected to play a role in helping to leverage and harmonise the incoming wave of SDG-related monitoring initiatives that are currently being developed.
The WBA is funded by Aviva and the governments of The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Denmark.
Note: Company names shown are for informational purposes only. This is not an offer to sell, nor a solicitation to buy, securities.