By Akanimo Sampson
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has sealed a deal with the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) to enhance reporting of the private sector’s contribution to global goals.’
This is largely because Target 12.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires companies to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
Many businesses are starting to integrate their performance against the global goals in their mainstream annual reports.
UNCTAD and the IIRC are, therefore, joining forces to make this practice the norm by working with key stakeholders to fully integrate SDGs in their reporting cycle.
The two organisations signed an updated memorandum of understanding on June 3, at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to deepen collaboration on promoting integrated reporting.
Integrated reporting is the concept of a more holistic form of reporting the value created by a business. An international framework is used to accelerate the adoption of integrated reporting across the world.
“We are delighted to be continuing our effective collaboration with the IIRC”, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said.
Adding, she said “while challenges still remain with regard to how contributions to the SDGs can be more substantially integrated into corporate strategy and reporting, the international integrated reporting framework serves as an effective and flexible tool for tackling the key challenges for businesses to meet goal 12 of the SDGs.”
SDGs provide businesses with a framework to translate global needs and ambitions into business solutions, helping companies to better manage operational, financial and regulatory risks while also unlocking potentially historic market opportunities.
“The IIRC encourages businesses to align their value creation models with the SDGs and use relevant metrics to measure and communicate on performance – short term and long term”, IIRC chief executive Richard Howitt said.
“In order to achieve this and provide stakeholders with confidence, this is not just about the contents page of a report, but the pressing need for relevant and reliable information about business’ contribution to the SDGs, which is fully integrated across the company and its reporting cycle”, he added.
UNCTAD, which is responsible for addressing enterprise accounting and reporting issues in the UN system, has been active in assisting countries to develop a strong corporate reporting system to facilitate investment through its intergovernmental working group of experts on international standards of accounting and reporting.
UNCTAD has been a supportive member of the IIRC Council, the focal point for developing a strong, effective, navigable and unified corporate reporting system. It was part of the working group that developed the international integrated reporting framework.
Under the updated agreement, UNCTAD and IIRC will further collaborate on the methodology for SDG Indicator 12.6.1 and in efforts to enhance support in the market.
Previously, the IIRC collaborated with UNCTAD as a member of the latter’s consultative group to provide ‘core indicators’ that are opening benchmarks for business reporting of the SDGs.
This partnership is among many that UNCTAD has forged with NGOs, governments, international organisations and businesses in the spirit of SDG 17.