Expert insights from stakeholder engagement shared by the GRI Business Leadership Forum

Ensuring the transparency that enables the private sector to effectively contribute to accomplishing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), how can companies use reporting data to drive action in support of the Global Goals?

The GRI Business Leadership Forum (BLF) on Corporate Reporting as a Driver to Achieving the SDGs has been exploring this issue. Launched in March 2021, this two-year program combines a cohort of sustainably focused companies, with regular online sessions on how to raise the quality and relevance of SDG-related information. 

Two publications have been made available so far: – both covering key insights from BLF discussion sessions held between the businesses, key stakeholders and data users.

Summary Report 1: A Benchmark and Rating Agencies’ Perspective

Summary Report 2: Unlocking Corporate Sustainability Information to Track Progress on the SDGs at the National Level

Addressing the biggest issues faced within SDG reporting and highlighting where companies can make improvements, they include:  

  • Using a materiality assessment, linked to SDGs priorities areas, to identify the issues that matter most;  
  • Applying internationally identifies reporting frameworks, such as the GRI Standards, to effectively measure and disclose the business contribution to the SDGs; 
  • Taking accountability for both positive and negative SDG impacts, and communicating how they connect to the overall business strategy. 

As a global company, it is important for Fujitsu to make sure that global and local initiatives are well-aligned in order to generate the greatest impact we can and to deliver quality reporting. Understanding the links between our corporate purpose, ‘to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation’. The SDGs are the first step for each employee in making a commitment to the globally prioritized issues for the company as a whole, while recognizing the needs of each country and region.

Mel Melis, Colm McDaid, Makiko Morita and Mizuho Kondo from Fujitsu Sustainability Unit — BLF participants

Companies that measure, manage and report their impacts on the SDGs help the world move towards a sustainable future that works for everyone.

Gerbrand Haverkamp, Executive Director, World Benchmarking Alliance — a guest speaker in the session on benchmarking and rating agencies

The diverse and global BLF members include: ABB Group, Baxter, Cemex, Cigna, City Developments Limited, Enel, Eni, Ferrero, Fujitsu, Groupo Bimbo, IHS Towers, Inditex, JTI, Mosaic, Prysmian Group, and Salesforce.   

The two BLF summary papers give a synopsis of the discussions from the first two sessions, with benchmarks and rating agencies, and with government and policymaker representatives. Additionally, five sessions – each with a different stakeholder group – are following the same approach: post-workshop reports will be made freely available to the global sustainability and business community. 

A part of the BLF program, the best practice masterclass with key experts in corporate reporting has been delivered in 2021, with two more scheduled for next year. 

New members may still join the BLF on the SDGs in 2022 and seize the opportunity to become corporate sustainability leaders – find out more about the requirements and fees. 

GRI sends free resources to organizations and advice on how to integrate the SDGs into their sustainability reporting. Recent publications include an updated version of Linking the SDGs and the GRI Standards and Using Corporate Reporting to Strengthen the SDGs — a set of recommendations for policy makers.

Regular podcasts are released as part of the SDGs: The Rising Tide series, which explore how to quicken business engagement for the SDGs. An online course on Integrating the SDGs into sustainability reporting is also there as part of the GRI Academy – GRI’s online training platform for sustainability professionals.  

Source: GRI