Standard setters and framework providers to support better reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals

Position paper from major international corporate reporting standard setters and framework providers

Major international corporate reporting standard setters and framework providers have today [28 February 2019] released a position paper supporting the development of better reporting guidelines for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Participants of the ‘Corporate Reporting Dialogue’ – an initiative convened by the International Integrated Reporting Council bringing together the major standard setters and framework providers internationally - advocate working together to provide guidance and structure for businesses to be transparent and accountable, and to ensure better decision-making that promote financial stability and sustainable development.  

In the paper, entitled “SDGs and the future of corporate reporting”, CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Council, the International Organization for Standardization and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board identify how corporate reporting can illustrate which SDGs are relevant to a company’s business model, enabling both companies and investors to focus on those SDGs most likely to impact financial performance. 

The paper also articulates the importance of driving integration of financial and non-financial information to demonstrate how companies create value for stakeholders over the short and long-term.  

A product of ongoing discussions within the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, the co-authored paper also outlines the work that they, as framework providers and standard setters, must undertake to ensure there is guidance for business at the level of the underlying 169 SDG targets and to ensure that businesses are producing meaningful information and indicators.  

The paper states, "We will strive with our further co-operation to enable effective and efficient capital allocation for the benefit of companies, investors, and society.  This includes providing frameworks that measure progress toward achieving the SDGs, and providing frameworks that enable a better understanding of the link between the SDGs and company financial performance and risk.” 

Read the full report: SDGs and the future of corporate reporting

Notes for editors:

The table below shows which SDGs are addressed by each of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue partic-ipants’ frameworks at the level of topics and/or indicators.

SDG CDP CDSB GRI ISO SASB* IIRC*
1. No poverty
2. No hunger
3. Good health and well-being
4. Quality education
5. Gender equality
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry innovation and infrastructure
10. Reduced inequalities
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
14. Life under water
15. Life on land
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
17. Partnerships for the goals

*     SASB metrics would be relevant for specific SDGs for selected industries

**   The International <IR> Framework follows a principles-based approach and, therefore, does not prescribe the disclosure of specific individual matters. Although its guidance identifies several of the above themes (including innovation and infrastructure, responsible use of resources, and climate change), it recognizes that their influence on broader value creation is entity-specific. On this basis, the <IR> Framework indirectly supports all 17 SDGs, to the extent that organizations deem them material to value creation over the short, medium or long term.

About the Corporate Reporting Dialogue: 

The Corporate Reporting Dialogue is an initiative, convened in June 2014 by the International Integrated Reporting Council, designed to respond to market calls for greater coherence, consistency and comparability between corporate reporting frameworks, standards and related requirements. 

In November 2018, participants of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue announced details of a two-year ‘Better Alignment Project’ to drive better alignment of sustainability reporting frameworks, as well as with frameworks that promote further integration between non-financial and financial reporting. 

Further information about the work of the Dialogue can be found on the Corporate Reporting Dialogue website. 

Media contact: Juliet Markham, Head of Communications, IIRC contact via email: juliet.markham@theiirc.org or telephone: +44 207 504 2575

Authors of the ‘The Sustainable Development Goals and the future of corporate reporting’

CDP is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Visit www.cdp.net or follow @CDP to find out more.

Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) is an international consortium of business and environ-mental NGOs, committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural capital with financial capital. Visit www.cdsb.net or follow @CDSBglobal for more information. 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international independent organization that has pioneered cor-porate sustainability reporting since 1997. GRI helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others.

International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) is the convenor of the Corporate Reporting Dia-logue. It is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting pro-fession and NGOs. The coalition is promoting communication about value creation as the next step in the evolution of corporate reporting. Visit www.integratedreporting.org or follow @theiirc

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental interna-tional organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies each of which represent the stakeholders in their countries. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support inno-vation and provide solutions to global challenges.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is an independent standard-setting organization that develops and maintains robust reporting standards that enable businesses around the world to identify, manage and communicate financially material sustainability information to their investors. SASB standards are evidence based, developed with broad market participation, and are designed to be cost-effective for companies and decision-useful for investors. To download any SASB industry-specific standards, or learn more about SASB, please visit www.SASB.org.