Forum Two: Scoping a Vision

Session 2
Nov 14 '19 3:25pm–Nov 14 '19, 5:05pm GMT


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Summary of Discussion

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Q7. Thinking about accountability and monitoring – how do we ‘stay honest’ and make sure that what gets agreed in new partnerships, innovations and SDGs gets implemented?

  • Public transparency
  • Assurance rates low due to cost and lack of internationally accepted standard
  • Using universities to evaluate/audit. Collaborative learning environment can raise the bar and drive the need and culture for honesty and transparency
  • Sustainability awards. Who presents them?
  • ISO26000 series needs updating
  • Who would audit the auditer? Auditing firms already 'plagued' with ethical issues
  • Local inclusion is key
  • Use of technology e.g. AI identifying SDG compliant companies
  • Protocol Template with clear targets and objectives
  • Companies downstream need resources to shift to a more sustainable operation
  • Need an accepted global standard on ESG/SDG to also have reasonable/adequate assurance
  • Need more diversity in audits to avoid market pressure
  • Communication between accounting department and sustainability department should be more and enhanced

Q6. How can businesses unlock sustainable investment opportunities through new forms of reporting?

  • Climate risk reporting and TCFD
  • Standardised reporting and sustainability audit. Challenge lies with cost
  • Reporting on material sustainability issues is a key input to ESG ratings
  • Need to allocate time and resources to aligning with SDG framework
  • Need to report more data and indicators
  • Innovation of communications
  • Need a proper framework, standards and procedures for auditing reports
  • Reporting needs to move to concise, consistent, comparable and current data
  • Guidebooks and guidelines
  • Examples
    • FIFCO integrated report
    • Investment Leaders Group's investment impact framework
    • Impact Management Project (IMP)
    • GIIN
    • TONIIC
    • IRIS

Q5. What are examples of strong corporate leadership in the SDGs?

  • Nedbank - A South African Bank
  • Unilever
  • Patagonia 
  • Natura
  • SSE
  • Danone
  • Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)
  • Wood
  • Sykes
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • Iberdrola 
  • Barry Callebaut
  • Chalhoub Group 
  • CAVIRO group
  • The Body Shop
  • Tata Steel
  • Enactus (association) 
  • Social enterprises

Q4. How can the development of business models be scaled for broader impact?

  • Orienting their business models towards social/environmental impact
  • Green Bonds and Social Impact Bonds
  • Can the success of microfinance be replicated for access to basic education or basic health services
  • More work on 'shared value' for both business and society
  • Need buy-in from executive level, not just CSR function. SDGs should be part of 'business as usual'
  • A standard M&E framework
  • Flexible models that allows the addition of more KPIs and connects with more policies and strategies
  • Marking products with SDG rating
  • Need to work with academics to develop ideas and models
  • Private sector initiatives aren't currently heard by public sector
  • Global Prize for the SDGs?
  •  Examples
    • “Red Flag” by Shift
    • SROI & emission reporting protocols
    • Genuine Progress Indicator in the USA

Q3. How can more impactful and relevant industry partnerships be encouraged to deliver on the SDGs?

  • Encourage and sponser training about the SDGs
  • Companies required to align business strategy with the SDGs 
  • Sustainability summits held by city governments 
  • Universities important in building alliances
  • Can't be lost to CSOs and CSR department. Need buy in at executive level
  • Industry clusters increase collaboration
  • Impact measurement and management has the potential to influence meaningful partnerships
  • Business needs to be part of the transformation, not just the scapegoat
  • Indices and benchmarks are effective tools for informing stakeholders re company performance
  • An interactive online platform where businesses can find partnerships
  • Banks have played a key role in developing and promoting innovative financial instruments to allocate capital to a low carbon economy
  • Product media campaings can use SDG labelling
  • Technologies and innovations should be purpose-driven e.g. Microsoft's AI for GOOD
  • Social Network Analysis as a methodology to detect possible alliances
  • Partnerships and Associations important to overcome lack of access to information and "how to implement SDGs" for SMEs
  • Examples
    • Principles for Responsible Banking
    • BCI (Cotton)
    • WMB coalition
    • Responsible Business Alliance
    • Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo AED
    • KnowTheChain
    • Natural Capital Impact Group
    • Natural Capital Coalition
    • Sport and Sustainability International
    • Nucafe 
    • Oil Sands Industry Alliance
    • UN PRI
    • Aliarse 
    • Alianza Empresarial para la Sostenibilidad Centroamerica
    • RE100
    • OEFA - Organismo de Evaluacion y Fiscalizacion Ambiental

Q2. What can be done to help encourage more collaboration between business and government to achieve the SDGs?

  • Sharing data
  • Financial incentives e.g. SDG projects to be tax exempt or subsidised e.g. Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore
    • Needs to be agreed between business and government
  • VNRs should be an SDG road map
  • PPP initiatives are critical for success
  • Government employees need to be trained at all levels
  • Need more collaboration between universities and local business
  • Examples
    • Collaboration towards the EU Sustainable Finance Action plan
    • GRI, UNDP and Govt of Colombia collaborated to inform a VNR
    • Costa Rica - NDP linked to SDGs
    • DEPRIVEDHOODS - ERC project
    • "Programa de Educación Financiera" - Costa Rica

Q1. What can be done to make that link so that reporting is more meaningful?

  • What the SDGs mean for individual companies
  • Who companies are working with 
  • How business strategies are impacted by the SDGs
  • Framework for SMEs to report to. Current framework too wide
  • Linking materiality to strategy is necessary for meaninful SDG reporting. Materiality first, SDGs second.
  • Mapping key business impacts (operational and product/service) with relevant SDGs
  • Need business leaders to value sustainability - it will cascade down
  • Linking existing sustainability goals to the SDGs
  • Efforts from universities e.g. Penn University
  • Understanding the opportunities and risks the SDGs present
  • Linking corporate vision to relevant SDGs
  • Training courses to employees on SDGs
  • Think globally, act locally
  • Examples:
    • SDG Action Manager
    • SASB’s Materiality Map
    • EFQM Model
    • Safaricom


1 of 4
Good reporting on the SDGs needs to outline, disclose or report on:
Method/process used (identifying/prioritizing SDGs)
SMART SDG-related performance goals
Impact quantification methodologies
SDG triggered innovations
102 votes
Next Poll »
Successful multi-sector coalitions depend on:
Clear business targets
Complementary goals
Common language
Access to funding
Value-added (resources/capabilities)
Access to new markets
Growth opportunities
Scalable/transformative impact
Building trust
Effective practices/strong project management
71 votes
Next Poll »
Business models that drive action on the SDGs require:
Responsive/responsible leadership
Multi-level governance
Horizontal coordination (dynamization)
Action at regional levels
Disruptive innovation
Unlocking economic opportunities
Innovative perspectives/ideas
45 votes
Next Poll »
There are no clearly identified business indicators on SDG 17. What indicators are most suitable to measure business contributions to this goal?
Number of partnerships
Number of science / technology cooperation agreements
Amount of funding for technology / knowledge transfer
Funding for financial and technical assistance
Transparency around taxes paid
Funding contributed to SDG-linked projects
Dollars invested in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Amount of funding committed to PPPs and civil society partnerships
45 votes
Next Poll »

Meet our Guest Contributors

Nicoletta Dante
Head Sustainability Plannin...
Enel Green Power
Kris Douma
Director Strategic Projects
Heather Lang
Executive Director of Susta...
Yingru Li
Lecturer in Accounting
University of Glasgow
Marina Migliorato
Head Sustainability Stakeho...
Tim Mohin
Chief Executive
Cecilia Mora
RS Sostenible Asesoría Int...
Dan Osusky
Director of Standards
B Lab
Aris Vrettos
Director, Open and Internat...
Cambridge Institute for Sus...
Ian Woodcock
Senior Manager, Company Net...
Peter Paul Van de Wijs
Chief External Affairs Offi...

Session Moderator

Chris Coulter
CEO, GlobeScan


Chris Coulter
Thank you everyone for a truly excellent discussion and for...
Chris Coulter
Welcome and thank you for joining this second collaboration...
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