New initiative launched to rank businesses on SDGs

A new multi-stakeholder initiative that ranks companies on their work towards delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was launched today.


The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) will make its rankings freely available to the public, and intends to boost the transparency and accountability of firms in relation to the SDGs.

The first set of benchmarks will be published in 2020, focusing on climate and energy, digital inclusion, food and agriculture, and gender equality and empowerment.

However, many more will be produced by 2023 in order to comprehensively assess the progress of 2,000 companies across all the major areas needed to achieve the SDGs.

As well as empowering consumers, investors and governments, it is hoped that the initiative will promote competition among businesses in their race to deliver against the goals.

“This new and unique approach will measure and incentivise businesses to continue driving efforts towards a more sustainable future,” WBA executive director, Gerbrand Haverkamp, said.

“With only 12 years left to deliver against the SDGs, governments, businesses, civil society and individuals alike must make a concerted effort to achieve progress.”

With 17 overarching goals and 169 individual targets, the SDGs are intended to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030 through the participation of everyone in society.

The WBA was launched today by insurance company Aviva, the United Nations Foundation, and the Index Initiative, and is also funded by the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.

It follows a year of international consultations, expert meetings and online surveys, with more than 10,000 stakeholders representing business, civil society, government and consumers.

The UK’s international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said: “More and more people are recognising that businesses need to be a force for good in the world.

“In giving ordinary people the information they need to hold companies to account, the WBA will fundamentally challenge businesses to up their game on the contribution they are making to the goals.”


Image credit: UN


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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