Global Business Leaders Support ESG Convergence by Committing to Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics

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The FINANCIAL– According to Bank of America, 61 business leaders, including members of the World Economic Forum and its International Business Council (IBC), have committed to the core Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics released by the IBC. Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics offer a set of universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and governance that companies can report on, regardless of industry or region. The move signals that private sector leaders view environmental, social and governance factors as critical to the success and long-term viability of all businesses and a unified voice is gathering pace on a global solution for non-financial reporting

A growing coalition of 61 top business leaders across industries announced their commitment to the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and disclosures released by the World Economic Forum and its International Business Council (IBC) in September 2020, that measure the long-term enterprise value creation for all stakeholders.

The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, drawn from existing voluntary standards, offer a core set of 21 universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance that are considered most critical for business, society and the planet, and that companies can report on regardless of industry or region. They strengthen the ability of companies and investors to benchmark progress on sustainability matters, thereby improving decision-making and enhancing transparency and accountability regarding the shared and sustainable value companies create.

According to Bank of America, these leaders and their organizations, including Dow, Unilever, Nestlé, PayPal, Reliance Industries and Sony have today committed to:

Reflect the core metrics in their reporting to investors and other stakeholders (e.g. annual report, sustainability report, proxy statements, or other materials) by reporting on the metrics most relevant to their business or briefly explaining why a different approach is more appropriate

Publicly support this work and encourage their business partners to do so

Promote the further convergence of existing ESG standards, frameworks and principles to support progress towards a globally accepted solution for non-financial reporting on common ESG metrics

In making these commitments, business leaders are signaling that ESG factors are increasingly critical to the success and long-term viability of all businesses. This clearly represents the intent from leading global companies to integrate sustainability into their core strategy, operations and corporate disclosures.

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“Stakeholder capitalism becomes now really mainstream,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “The public commitments from companies to report not only on financial matters but also their ESG impacts are an important step towards a global economy that works for progress, people and the planet.”

“We have to deliver great returns for our shareholders and help drive progress on society’s most important priorities,” said Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Chairman of the International Business Council. “That is stakeholder capitalism in action. Common metrics will help all stakeholders measure the progress we are making and ensure that the resources capitalism can marshal – from companies, from investors, and others – are directed to where they can make the most difference.”

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Bank of America, Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, curated the set of 21 core and 34 expanded metrics over the past two years with the support of over 140 stakeholders.

The metrics include non-financial disclosures centered around the four pillars: people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance. Intentionally built on existing standards, the pillars include metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions, pay equality and board diversity, among others.

By adopting and reporting on these metrics and disclosures, the business community will continue to catalyze greater cooperation and alignment among existing standards and encourage progress on the development of a systemic, globally accepted set of common standards for reporting on sustainability performance.

The full list of companies that have agreed to implement reporting on the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics includes:

Accenture
Adecco Group
African Rainbow Minerals
Allianz
Banco Santander
Bank of America
BBVA
Boston Consulting Group
bp
Clifford Chance
Credit Suisse
Dell Technologies
Deloitte
Deutsche Post DHL
Dow
Eni
Ecolab
Ecopetrol
Equinor
EY
Fidelity International
HEINEKEN
HP
HSBC Holdings
IBM
JLL
Kearney Inc.
KPMG
Mahindra Group
Majid Al Futtaim
Mastercard
McKinsey & Company
Medtronic
Mercuria Energy Group
Mitsubishi Corporation
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.
Nestlé
Novo Nordisk A/S
Palo Alto Networks
PayPal
Publicis Groupe
PwC
Reliance Industries
Repsol
Royal DSM
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Philips
Salesforce
Schneider Electric
Siemens
Solvay
Sony
Sumitomo Corporation
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG)
Suntory Holdings
Takeda Pharmaceutical
Total
UBS
Unilever
Yara International
Zurich Insurance Group

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Expert thoughts:

“Runaway climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality are some of the biggest problems that the world faces,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. “Companies’ annual reports and accounts might not be the first mechanism for change that would spring to mind, but standardized and mandatory non-financial reporting is critical to creating a new form of capitalism that tackles these problems. The Forum’s IBC work is an important step forward and we are providing our wholehearted support.”

“Although there is growing demand from investors who recognize that ESG disclosure is vital for good investment decisions, there is no agreed international framework yet,” said Geraldine Matchett, Co-CEO and Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Royal DSM. “I hope the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics are a first step towards the convergence of existing metrics and standards. This will be one of the fastest ways to accelerate the systemic change the world needs, putting investors on the right track, helping to change consumer behavior for the better, and helping companies to do the right thing.”

“The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics represent a great stride forward towards equipping investors, corporates, society and regulators with a common set of relevant ESG metrics,” says Ilham Kadri, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee, SOLVAY SA. “SOLVAY is committed to delivering superior profitable growth that is sustainable and responsible. It welcomes enthusiastically these metrics as an opportunity to engage in dialogue on an aligned, transparent and factual basis in order to address the important challenges that our societies face.”

“Today is another step forward in the growing impact of stakeholder capitalism. It’s not just about words, but about companies setting clear metrics, measuring our progress, and holding ourselves accountable,” says Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce. “Only then can we provide long-term growth for our shareholders, build trust with all stakeholders, and truly improve the state of the world.”

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