- Lead-organizer: Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future
- 17:00 - 18:30
- Date: 20 Jun 2012
- Room: T-2
Denmark and South Africa show the way: Corporate Social Responsibility
Organizing partners- Global Reporting Initiative and Stakeholder Forum (lead hosts)
- The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark (co-host)
- The Government of the Republic of South Africa (co-host)
IntroductionThe event will focus on the topic of sustainability reporting as a tool to advance a Green and Responsible Economy. The Danish Prime Minister and the South African Minister of Environment will testify that this is common and successful practice in their countries. Achim Steiner will picture the broader context.
The objective of the event will be to profile i) the role of business and ensure accountability of the corporate sector, ii) the importance of corporate sustainability reporting in sustainable development policies, iii) the role of governments as regulators with special emphasis on Denmark presenting the results of its sustainability reporting policy and the South African approach and iv) the strong multi-stakeholder collaboration among the different Rio+20 actors (Governments, CSOs and Private Sector).
The targeted audience includes Heads of State; the UN SG; Heads of Delegations; business community including GRI Reporters and Organizational Stakeholders and UNGC Signatories and CSOs.
Detailed programmeThematic focus of the event will be on the topic of sustainability reporting as a tool to advance a Green and Responsible Economy. More precisely the event will address the issues already included in the current version of the paragraph 24 (part II Renewing Political Commitment) and paragraph 104 (part V Framework for Action and Follow-up) of the ?zero draft? of the Conference outcome document ?The Future We Want?. Focus is on the fact that this approach is already working in several countries, though a smart mix of regulation and proactive business.
The event will thus serve as a back-to-back forum for discussing the way forward in implementing the outcome of the Conference with respect to sustainability reporting in the international context thereby providing good practice examples from the national level (with an emphasis on the Danish and South African model).
Thousands of organizations now report on their economic, social and environmental performance, showing that sustainability reporting adds value. Research shows that in 2011, 95 percent of the largest 250 companies worldwide issued sustainability reports, up from around 80 percent in 2008 and 50 percent in 2005.
While the number of reporters is growing, including in emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India, and the quality of reporting is improving; sustainability reporting is yet to achieve its full potential: the adoption of the practice is too slow.
The Report or Explain Regulation in Denmark (Danish Financial Statements Act, 2009) requires Danish businesses to report on the business? social responsibility policies, how the business translates them into action and an evaluation of what has been achieved through them. If the business has not formulated any social responsibility policies, this information must be disclosed in the management?s review. As outlined in the 2nd impact assessment (2011), through this Report or Explain approach, 87 percent of large Danish businesses comply with the reporting requirement. The mindset of business seems to change, in line with the rationale behind the introduction of the legal requirement.
Further, more and more regulators are understanding the importance of the issue. Governments, international organizations, stock exchanges and a number of private initiatives have developed a wide range of policy, regulation, requirements, and guidelines to promote sustainability reporting and environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure, while some others are currently consider doing the same. Among others, Australia, China, the European Union, France, India, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States have developed policy initiatives to promote sustainability reporting and/or environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure, while stock exchanges in Brazil, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan and South Africa are playing a pivotal role in requiring or recommending listed companies to disclose sustainability/ESG information.
How can the world manage the transition to a ?Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication?? The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) suggests that a Green Economy will only be achieved if organizational information on the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental performance - is widely available to decision makers, together with information on organizational governance. This can be achieved by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) adopting a policy framework on sustainability reporting based on the Report or Explain approach: this practical measure would make a positive impact and enhance accountability of business.
Speakers will include:
1. Helle Thorning Schmidt, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Denmark (confirmed)
2. Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP (confirmed)
3. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa (confirmed)
4. Herman Mulder, Chair of the Board of Directors , Global Reporting Initiative (confirmed)
5. Derek Osborn, Chair, Stakeholder Forum or Paul Abberly, CEO, AVIVA Investors
6. Business leader from Denmark, the president of the Danish Industry Association (tbc)