Coalition calls for UN declaration on sustainability

Declaration should focus on transparency and accountability

September 26, 2011
by Purchasing b2b staff

A coalition has called on the United Nations to develop a global policy framework requiring listed and large private companies to integrate sustainability information in their annual report and accounts or explain why they can’t. Paul Abberley, chief executive of Aviva Investors London, announced the “call to action” last week at the United Nations Private Sector Forum on Sustainable Energy for All, held in conjunction with the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly.

On behalf of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition, Abberly asked UN member states to adopt a binding international commitment to develop a national policy requiring disclosure of sustainability information. The coalition is calling on the UN member states to adopt the global policy framework at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the 2012 Earth Summit, kicking off in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. The coalition said the framework should adhere to two key principles:

  • Transparency: UN member states should develop national regulations mandating the integration of material sustainability issues in the annual report and accounts; and
  • Accountability: countries should provide effective mechanisms for investors to hold companies to account on the quality of their disclosures.

“Progressive companies around the world have come to understand that long term-value is enhanced by embedding long-term sustainability into their business strategy and by fully disclosing their progress to investors, said Abberley. “As a long-term investor we also recognize the positive impact that embedding long-term sustainability into a business strategy can have. We believe that all corporate boards should be required to consider the future sustainability of the firm they govern. This should not only enhance long-term profitability and returns to investors, but also improve the quality of stock markets, increase macro financial stability and make a material contribution to the lives of those impacted by corporate activity.”

The coalition represents financial institutions, professional bodies, NGOs and investors with assets under management amounting. It includes organizations such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, CA Cheuvreux, Generation Investment, Global Reporting Initiative and Hermes.