Quality data is crucial to accelerate progress on the SDGs

Source: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 29 July 2022

At the midpoint in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, greater multi-stakeholder action is essential to achieve the Global Goals. To help organizations report on progress, a new publication offers the most comprehensive inventory yet for the disclosures that relate to each SDG goal and target, drawing from international frameworks and standards.

A fully updated edition of Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets, from Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the United Nations Global Compact, is now freely available. Paving the way for improved aggregation of relevant information across companies and sectors, the publication was unveiled at a GRI – UN Global Compact side event, during the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

First published in 2017, this new version reflects the latest GRI Universal, Topic and Sector Standards, and the 2022 edition of the UN Global Compact Communication on Progress questionnaire. It also incorporates metrics from 26 disclosure sources, including those of CDP, SASB, UN Guiding Principles, World Benchmarking Alliance, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Economic Forum.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, published this month by UN Statistics, warns that the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war, is rolling back progress on the SDGs. With significant data gaps identified for eight out of 17 of the Global Goals, it emphasizes why countries and companies need to step up their efforts to ensure internationally comparable reporting.

Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI Chief External Affairs Officer, said: “It is only by accelerated action, with greater accountability from all actors, that the global community will be able to increase the pace of progress and get the SDGs back on track. Accurate and robust reporting from the private sector offers businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders highly valuable data to inform how this can be achieved. Five years ago, GRI and UN Global Compact launched our original guidance on SDG reporting. Breaking down the collective challenges into measurable disclosures, based on globally recognized frameworks, this updated resource will help more companies to commit to consistent and comparable reporting on their impacts. Furthermore, this resource will help companies identify new business opportunities while contributing to a better world.

Bernhard Frey, SDG Impact and Reporting Officer, UN Global Compact, said: “Transparency and accountability is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Measuring and reporting on their contributions and impacts on the SDGs can help businesses drive sustainability action. In the context of the social and environmental crises that our societies face, increased ambition by businesses is more needed than ever to achieve the SDGs.”