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Source: Small Island Developing States

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has developed a guidance tool to measure the contribution of the private sector to the SDGs, using 33 SDG indicators. The toolkit is also expected to help raise awareness on the importance of reporting contributions to the SDGs, as called for in SDG target 12.6.

UNCTAD developed the tool through a three-year consultation process under the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR). The 36th session of ISAR, which convened from 30 October to 1 November 2019, endorsed the guidance tool. The toolkit is based on key reporting principles and frameworks and companies’ reporting practices.

The guidance can help incorporate the private sector’s contributions to SDG implementation into VNRs.

The ‘Guidance on core indicators for entity reporting on contribution towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals’ features 33 core SDG indicators on economic, environmental, institutional and social areas, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and chemicals, the use of energy and water, waste generation and recycling, gender equality, community development and human resource management. The tool aims to help companies track and report their impacts and progress on SDG targets using comparable and reliable quantitative information. In addition, the tool aims to help governments design policies and develop institutional mechanisms to collect data from companies’ reports to reflect the private sector’s contribution to the SDGs, in line with SDG indicator 12.6.1 (number of companies publishing sustainability reports).

In a press release, James Zhan, UNCTAD, emphasized the tool’s potential to promote better coherence between financial and sustainability reporting. Noting that the diversity of reporting frameworks has presented a challenge for government agencies and investors interested in monitoring SDG implementation at the national level, Zhan said the guidance on core indicators for SDG reporting will help harmonize sustainability reporting, and can help incorporate the private sector’s contribution to SDG implementation into voluntary national reviews (VNRs).

According to UNCTAD, it has validated the toolkit in China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Guatemala, Kenya, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. Guatemala’s government agency that promotes small and medium enterprise (SME) development plans will conduct training sessions on SDG reporting for 20-25 companies to help them learn to apply the toolkit. UNCTAD is implementing a capacity-building project in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya and South Africa to strengthen government capacity to measure and monitor the contribution of the private sector to the SDGs. UNCTAD also plans to incorporate the toolkit’s core indicators into a software that will be used to collect sustainability information across Central America from 2020. [UNCTAD Press Release] [Publication: Guidance on core indicators for entity reporting on contribution towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals] [UNCTAD Press Release on ISAR Meeting and Guidance] 

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