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Future of the Environment

Stakeholder Metrics Initiative: over 150 companies implement sustainability reporting metrics

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Voluntary enhancement of sustainability reporting has been adopted by over 130 companies. Image: Getty Images

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  • For the private sector to drive progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a common reporting system is essential.
  • Over 130 companies have co-designed the Stakeholder Metrics – a set of data points that allows companies to consistently report non-financial disclosures.
  • Over 150 companies are now reporting against the Stakeholder Metrics, of which most have reported for two or three years in a row.

The Stakeholder Metrics: A set of universal metrics and disclosures

Global challenges amplified in recent years by various crises, economic and geopolitical uncertainty, have made Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues even more pressing for policymakers, boards and executives.

To promote alignment among existing metrics and disclosure frameworks, the World Economic Forum, with partners including Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, has identified a set of universal metrics and disclosures – the Stakeholder Metrics.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Meetings 2023 in September, the Forum announced that 158 companies have already included the Stakeholder Metrics in their mainstream reporting materials, including annual reports and sustainability reports. This group of global companies includes 101 companies which have been using the metrics for two or three years in a row.

Drawn from established standards, the Stakeholder Metrics promote alignment among existing frameworks to create a set of data points that can be compared between companies, regardless of their industry or region. The metrics include non-financial disclosures centred around four pillars: people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance and include measurements around greenhouse gas emissions, pay equality and board diversity, among others.

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Since January 2021, over 160 companies have shown their support for Stakeholder Metrics. Firms which have adopted this approach include Accenture, Bank of America, Cargolux, DP World, Eni, Fidelity International, Fubon Financial Holding, HSBC Holdings, Hyundai Motor Company, IBM, Mastercard, Majid Al Futtaim, Nestlé, PayPal, Reliance Industries, Royal DSM, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Total, UBS, Unilever, Yara International and Zurich Insurance Group, among others.

Case studies from companies who are reporting on the Stakeholder Metrics show how comprehensive non-financial reporting is driving effective transformation on corporations’ sustainability efforts.

Building on earlier case studies on The Adecco Group, Bank of America, Ginkgo Bioworks and Wipro, the latest case studies feature:

Fubon: Taiwanese financial institution using the metrics as a reference point for a screening questionnaire to assess the risks its clients face from nature loss and other environmental challenges

Ecolab: US-based multinational corporation utilizing the Forum’s metrics to prepare for regulated reporting through a focus on the building blocks of reporting, such as TCFD

Mahindra Group: India-based multinational federation of companies leveraging the metrics to attract impact investors who are more aligned with the company’s core purpose

Ecopetrol: Colombia’s state-owned energy company using the Forum’s metrics to hone in on reporting topics that are most advanced and that will generate value

HEINEKEN: international brewer adopting the metrics to capture comparable data on both sustainability and prosperity

JLL: global property services firm leveraging the Forum’s metrics to agree water management plans and targets

Philips: global health technology company adopting the metrics to reinforce accurate reporting on the environmental and social impacts of its operations

SABIC: one of the world’s largest chemical companies reporting against the metrics to advance its work with other value chain leaders to build a new, diversified economy

Schneider Electric: multinational energy company using Forum’s metrics to establish a new approach to biodiversity

In parallel to developing the Stakeholder Metrics and bringing on-board the companies to the coalition, the Forum engaged with the Impact Management Project to bring together the major standard setters and frameworks. The Forum worked closely with the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) as a contributing member of their Technical Readiness Working Group. Through these collaborations, the Forum contributed to the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) which was unveiled during the Climate Change Conference COP26.

In June 2023 the Forum announced that it is to form a Forum ISSB Preparers Group comprising corporate leaders with diverse expertise in sustainability reporting. The partnership was formalized by an MoU signed by World Economic Forum and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation. The Forum is currently developing illustrative guidance to demonstrate the transition from the Stakeholder Metrics to the first two sets of the ISSB Standards. The intention is for this to be a first set of a compendium of subsequent guidance as new ISSB Standards are developed. To date, the Stakeholder Metrics have been an on-boarding ramp for companies to get started on their sustainability reporting journey. There is reasonable alignment thus far on the Stakeholder Metrics and the first two sets of standards released.

Why ESG reporting is crucial.

Measuring the impact companies have on society and our planet is essential if practices are to be managed and improvements are to be made.

However, public and private stakeholders have struggled for many years to make clear progress amongst a number of competing standards, frameworks and initiatives.

Without generally accepted international accounting or reporting standards when it comes to non-financial reporting, many companies are working in silos and cannot effectively share best practices or key learnings.

For the private sector to drive progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a common system of measurement is essential.

“To see over 150 companies report on their environmental, social and governance performance shows how the private sector is committed to articulating their ESG impact to stakeholders. As we move towards shaping globally consistent and comparable ESG reporting standards, the Stakeholder Metrics serve as a key resource for companies to enhance their ESG reporting capabilities.”

Olivier Schwab, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

Looking ahead: our approach to streamlining non-financial reporting.

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos, 120 of the world’s largest companies supported efforts to develop a core set of common metrics and disclosures on non-financial factors for their investors and other stakeholders.

In September 2020, following a six-month consultation process with over 200 companies, investors and interested parties, the project published a refined set of 21 core and 34 expanded metrics and disclosures in its report Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation.

Since the launch of the Stakeholder Metrics, the Forum has been building a coalition of over 150 global companies that are willing to show their commitment to stakeholder capitalism and to reflect these metrics and disclosures in their mainstream reporting.

“The corporate reporting system today isn't delivering what stakeholders want and need, which is why we're strongly supportive of the efforts to drive greater consolidation of standards and reporting frameworks. The Forum's Stakeholder Metrics initiative is a valuable step in this direction, and we're delighted to contribute to this effort."

Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC

“The Stakeholder Metrics take a lot of the mystery out of ESG reporting. They’ve been pressure-tested by more than 150 companies, and they have the Big Four’s intellectual capital behind them.”

Lawrence Di Rita, President of Greater Washington DC and Head of Global Public Policy, Bank of America

Our aim is to bring stakeholders together to simplify and harmonize the various approaches to non-financial reporting.

The work is carried out through three interconnected communities:

Business Leaders: Advancing the adoption of the StakeholderMetrics and offering a collective, private-sector voice to the convergence dialogue.

ESG Practitioners: Leading the ESG strategy for their organization and implementing the recommendations into the reporting materials of their companies.

ESG Ecosystem: Harmonizing the global dialogue among standards foundations, private standard setters, regulators and international organizations.

How can you get involved?

If your organization shares the conviction that companies need useful tools for measuring and communicating sustainable value creation, you are invited to join this coalition of global businesses advocating for a global baseline of sustainability reporting and disclosures.

In committing to reporting on the Stakeholder Metrics you can play a transformative role within our community and lend your voice to this convergence effort.

Contact us to get involved.

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Related topics:
Future of the EnvironmentSustainable DevelopmentClimate ChangeCorporate GovernanceEconomic Progress
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Adecco GroupBank of AmericaDeloitteEcopetrolEYGinkgo BioworksHEINEKENHyundai MotorJLLKPMGMajid Al Futtaim HoldingPwCRoyal PhilipsSaudi Basic Industries (SABIC)Schneider ElectricWipro
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