European Union ‘backs corporate sustainability reporting push for Rio+20’

EU backs investor coalition put together by Aviva Investors

The European Union has come out in support of the $2trn investor coalition which is calling on the Rio+20 summit to develop a convention on corporate sustainability reporting, says organiser Aviva Investors.

Steve Waygood, Aviva Investors’ Chief Responsible Investment Officer, said the EU has backed the initiative, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition, which represents investors, financial institutions, professional bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The coalition is calling on United Nations member states to agree to develop the convention at the summit in Rio de Janeiro in June.

It would be a commitment by countries to develop national regulations, formal codes or listing rules that encourage the integration of material sustainability issues in the annual reports of all listed and large private firms.

The coalition stresses it is not seeking to mandate a standard, but to make sustainability reporting a “report or explain” requirement.The CSRC was convened by Aviva in September last year. Major institutional investor members include marquee names such as the BT Pension Scheme, French state fund the Fonds de réserve pour les Retraites and Dutch pension asset manager MN Services.

The likes of Calvert Investments, Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, CBF Church of England Funds, CCLA Investment Management, the Church Commissioners, the Church of Sweden, the Environment Agency Pension Fund, and Switzerland pension-fund owneed Ethos are also backing the project, as are the Carbon Disclosure Project, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the Global Reporting Initiative.

It comes as a progress report on Aviva’s sustainable stock exchanges project this week called for greater investor and regulatory support.

The Sustainable Stock Exchanges 2012 Global Dialogue takes place ahead of the Rio summit as part of the UN Global Compact’s Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Form on June 18 in the city.