Global Reporting Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact release Practical Guide on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into corporate reporting

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06 Aug, 2018

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) have released a Practical Guide on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into corporate reporting. The guide is intended to help companies of all sizes to prioritise their SDG targets, take action and report on progress.

Endorsed by all 193 United Nations Member States in 2015, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals focus global efforts and attention on 17 pressing issues. The SDGs are becoming increasingly important for governments, investors and businesses, as they are ‘an articulation of the world’s most pressing environmental, social and economic issues and, as such, act as a definitive list of the material ESG (environmental, social and governance) perspectives that should be taken into account as part of an investor’s fiduciary duty.’

The practical guide outlines a three step process to embed SDGs into existing business and reporting processes. The guide highlights that the recent GRI publication, Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets, should also be used as part of a company’s regular reporting cycle.

The three steps, outlined for companies, in the guide are as follows:

  1. Define priority SDG targets – including understanding the SDGs and their associated targets, conducting principled prioritisation of SDG targets and defining SDG-related report content. This step is focussed on determining which SDG targets should be prioritised based on an assessment of risks and benefits to people and the environment. 
  2. Measure and analyse – including setting business objectives, selecting appropriate disclosures and collecting and analysing data. The purpose of this step is to identify and align objectives and strategies to contribute to priority SDG targets.
  3. Report, integrate and implement change – including consideration of good practice reporting, consideration of data users’ information needs and reporting and implementing change. This step is focussed on setting out what is needed for putting together the content of the external report and reflecting internally on implementing change.

The guide should be used together with other relevant tools released by GRI, the UN Global Compact and their partners, in particular Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets, In Focus: Addressing Investors Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs and the SDG Compass.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) recently referred to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their Guidance on Board Effectiveness report when stating voluntary frameworks that boards may wish to refer to in identifying social and environmental considerations in their company strategies.

A press release and the full practical guide can be found on the GRI’s website.

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