Milestones, goals and future plans

September has drawn to a close and, with a very successful Climate Week New York behind us, it’s time to turn our gaze towards COP21 and the launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Climate Week New York is now over, and I’m delighted to say it was a very successful week for CDSB. During the week, we hosted two webinars on communicating value creation through natural capital to the mainstream, both of which were very well attended and had some brilliant questions and discussions. If you missed out, never fear – you can watch what went on here, and see the slides here.  

Our Statement on fiduciary duty & climate change disclosure has been going from strength to strength. After breaking the 100-signatory barrier last month, this month we’re pleased to announce some very high profile additions, including Siemens, with their global reach across so many sectors, and China Steel.

With COP21 fast approaching, the sustainability world’s next milestone is the launch of the of the UN’s SDGs. The 17 goals, bringing a whole host of issues to the forefront, provide a very useful framework and set of targets for the world to work towards. Member states of the UN will be expected to use them to develop further their policies in these areas.

 Of course, that’s where CDSB’s work comes in, as businesses, alongside civil society, will be required to contribute to meeting their government’s SDGs. CDSB aligns with many of the SDGs, in particular Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption & Production, specifically: 

Target 12.6: Encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

This is where the CDSB Framework for reporting environmental information & natural capital is of relevance – it's the ideal implementation-ready tool for businesses. 

What’s that I hear you ask? Why do I care? Fair question. In order to contribute to their share of reaching the SDGs, businesses will need investment. Through reliable reporting, we can leverage the world’s capital market to bring investment to businesses in the UK. And longer term, what will be the route to financial stability for the world's markets? Well in a hugely significant speech in London this month, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has asked for a climate disclosure task force to address the lack of reliable climate change information in markets. CDSB's experience and technical knowledge in developing a framework to enable businesses to do this is of course the perfect place to move forward on this initiative. 

The SDGs will provide a useful forum, and have the potential to drive global consensus on reporting practices. There is something of a tension between the social goals which have been set by the SDGs, and the sustainability goals which businesses themselves meet. These will have to be defined to allow businesses to contribute to their government’s targets. Supporting infrastructure will be required to complement the convention. The SDG Compass: The guide for business action on the SDGs is a guide to aid companies on aligning their strategies, as well as measure and manage their contribution to the SDGs.

We’re in for an exciting few months with this dialogue starting and COP21 coming up!

Jane Stevensen is the Managing Director of CDSB.

Image source: Sam Bald/Flickr.