International sustainability standard-setter GRI and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the world’s largest private sector network, have announced a partnership agreement outlining their intent to stimulate business action on sustainable development. Both organizations are united in their belief that the private sector must play a pivotal role in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. In signing this agreement, the parties recognize that through partnership and collaboration, they can scale up their efforts to help create a more sustainable global economy and world.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations lays out several areas of collaboration to support large organizations as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). GRI and the IOE will begin working together this year to develop guidance for SMEs on how to build their capacity for sustainability disclosure and communication. This is particularly important given the critical mass that SMEs represent within the business community. The partnership aims to better equip them to be able to access new markets and attract different sources of capital. The IOE is represented in the ad-hoc Technical Committee currently reviewing the labour-related indicators and definitions used in GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.
“Our collaboration with the IOE is one of the ways that GRI is working to achieve SDG 17, which calls for a renewal of the global partnership for sustainable development,” said GRI Deputy Chief Executive Teresa Fogelberg. “By working together, we will also help the private sector contribute to many of the other SDGs. These include decent work and economic growth, gender equality and climate action, all underpinned by the importance of human rights. Only through partnership and a can-do attitude will we be able to do great things.”
Both GRI and the IOE are committed to the principle that responsible business conduct should be integral to the way companies operate and that this should be at the core of all business decisions. The two organizations also respect the importance of labour and civil society organizations in helping to create a responsible business environment.
“We are delighted to collaborate with GRI. Guiding business in implementing policies related to sustainable development and responsible business conduct has long been at the top of the IOE’s agenda,” said IOE Secretary-General Linda Kromjong. “On the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN General Assembly last September, the IOE expressed the firm commitment of the private sector to make a positive contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. Partnering with GRI creates a unique synergy that will allow us to work more effectively towards our shared vision in this area.”
The partnership will be formally launched at the 5th GRI Global Conference: Empowering Sustainable Decisions, 18- 20 May, in Amsterdam. IOE’s Secretary-General Linda Kromjong will speak during the plenary session on ‘Innovation for Sustainable Development: The role of private sector collaboration.’