Sustainability reporting and SDGs

Corporate reporting can enrich and enhance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) monitoring mechanisms by providing governments, enterprises, society and other stakeholders with means to assess the economic, environmental and social impact of companies on sustainable development. However, in order to achieve this objective, further efforts are needed to ensure its coherence with existing reporting frameworks and practices, as well as the comparability of information and data provided by companies on sustainability. The recent adoption of the SDG agenda creates further demand for guidances on the harmonization of sustainability reporting.

In the course of deliberations on this agenda item at ISAR 32, delegates highlighted the urgent need for reliable and comparable reporting by enterprises of financial and non-financial aspects of their performance, with the integration of sustainability information into their reporting cycle. ISAR called on UNCTAD to conduct further work, in collaboration with a Consultative Group on SDG reporting, with a view to identifying good corporate reporting practices on the SDGs and facilitating the harmonization of sustainability reporting. This initiative will build on UNCTAD’s previous work on eco-efficiency indicators for preparers and accounting for environmental costs and liabilities. UNCTAD has joined forces with UNEP to evaluate the existing reporting frameworks in order to propose key principles and core indicators of SDG reporting. The objective of these indicators is to help companies measure their progress in attaining the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and evaluate their impact on the SDG agenda.

UNCTAD discussed the theme of SDGs and sustainability reporting at UNCTAD 14 and ISAR 33, and this agenda topic is also expected to be discussed during ISAR 34.