Sustainable Development Goals reporting framework being developed

Global Reporting Initiative and PRI collaborating with UN Global Compact

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the PRI and the UN Global Compact are working together on developing a reporting framework around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of this the PRI has established an SDG Advisory Committee including the likes of CalPERS, Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund and Swedish state fund Andra AP-fonden (AP2). And the GRI plans to merge its reporting requirements with the UN Global Compact to develop a global framework for companies to report on the SDGs.

Talking to RI, Teresa Fogelberg, Deputy Chief Executive of the GRI, said it was working with the PRI on its work to “really get it right” and it would also work with a world global business action group of 50 multinationals.

She said: “We will ask investors ‘what information do you need and how do you need it framed so you can make use of it?’”

The work around reporting on the SDGs will include a series of meetings this year globally. The first will be next month at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.

Fogelberg said the meetings will include a variety of actors such corporates, investors, UN organisations, governments, civil society, academics and ratings agencies.

In consultation, the GRI will identify the priorities around the SDGs and update its GRI guidance. “Some of that content will be in the GRI already,” said Fogelberg. “Some will be identified as gaps.”

Kris Douma, Director of Investment Practices and Reporting at the PRI, is leading on its work on the SDGs.Speaking at a seminar organised by investment firm Ruffer on the role investors can play in the SDGs, Douma said the PRI had considered adding it to the sixth principle but decided not to.

He said, however, that a large number of its signatories say it is important to have a focus on the SDGs and they will be a key objective of the PRI’s 10-year blueprint.

“SDGs are a key driver of global GDP growth, “ said Douma. “A global failure to meet the SDGs will create macro risks and the SDG agenda will provide interesting investment opportunities.”

He continued: “Some 55% of our members say responsible investment is just ESG risk and is not about achieving objectives for society. It is a narrow definition of responsible investment. This is the message we have said ourselves – it’s about material ESG integration only. We have realised it is not. It will take education to set the other 55% on board.”

On the PRI’s work with the GRI, Douma said it was important that companies report on SDG performance.

The other activities of the SDG Advisory Committee will include liaising with other UN partners including the G20 and OECD, defining the investment case for the SDGs and mapping investor relevance of different SDGs.

The members of the PRI SDG Advisory Committee are: AIMCO, AP2, APG, Aviva, Bovespa, CalPERS, Cbus, eRevalue, GPIF, Pension Consulting, PGGM, PIMCO, PWC, Sarona, ShareAction, Solaron, SwedFund, UNEP FI, UNGC, UBS, Walden Asset Management and Western Asset Management.