New Initiative to Support SDG-Aligned Investment

GRI’s new Business Leadership Forum to increase corporate reporting transparency while contributing to SDGs.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has launched a Business Leadership Forum (BLF) programme to enhance corporate reporting against the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To date, 16 companies globally have joined BLF, spanning sectors such as energy, healthcare and textiles. Members include Salesforce, Fujitsu, CEMEX and Eni.

The Forum will improve investor access to SDG-aligned data when making investment decisions, according to Asthildur Hjaltadottir, GRI’s Chief Regional Officer.

“The main benefit for investors is that the Forum will help companies raise the quality of SDG data, so that they more clearly and effectively disclose their contributions to the SDGs, in a way that investors can quantify and understand,” Hjaltadottir told ESG Investor.

“Working in partnership with fellow leaders in GRI’s Business Leadership Forum allows us to better engage stakeholders, drive best practices in sustainability reporting, and deliver outcomes and impact to help us shape a more sustainable society and planet,” said Takafumi Ikuta, Head of Corporate Purpose Activation Office for Fujitsu.

Over the next two years, the Forum will hold quarterly online events for corporates to help them raise the quality and relevance of their SDG-related data. Summaries will be published after each event, outlining the group’s conclusions, to assist wider groups of companies and stakeholders looking to improve the quality of SDG-related data.

The programme will explore how to enhance the usability of corporate reporting on the SDGs for stakeholders and investors, Hjaltadottir added. Investors looking to direct investments towards furthering their own SDG alignment are encouraged to collaborate with the programme, she added.

“There is increasing interest from many stakeholders, including investors, in business contribution to the SDGs. However, different stakeholders have different expectations and data needs. What are the practical changes companies can make, and how can their SDGs data be decision-useful for stakeholders? These are key questions that the Forum will explore,” Hjaltadottir said.

The first BLF event will take place in May. Corporate members will be joined by stakeholder representatives from sustainability benchmarking and rating agencies, GRI said.

GRI has been partnered with other leading organisations on contributing to the SDGs since 2015, including the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and PwC. This led to the recent publication of GRI’s ‘Addressing Investor Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs’ report.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s ‘2020 Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development’, developing countries are facing a shortfall of US$1.7 trillion in the financing they need to keep on track to meet the SDG requirements by 2030.

The Global Infrastructure Hub estimated that Africa alone will need US$3.3 trillion to meet its SDG infrastructure goals by 2040.

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