• Lead-organizer: Aviva
  • 17:30 - 19:00
  • Date: 21 Jun 2012
  • Room: UN2 (Barra Arena)

Please note that this Side event is taking place outside RioCentro in the Barra Arena.

A global convention on corporate sustainability reporting?

Organizing partners

Aviva Investors - Lead organiser
UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - coorganiser
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - coorganiser
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) - coorganiser
United National Global Compact - coorganiseer


Governments should express clearly at Rio+20 their commitment to develop a Convention on corporate sustainability reporting. It is now twenty years since the first Earth Summit as such this is momentous opportunity to move the corporate sustainability agenda forward as a mechanism to move towards a 'green economy'.

An intergovernmental message from such an important international conference would signal to all listed and large firms that now is the time to act on sustainability. A clear message that an international convention drafting process is ongoing will generate an interest in those firms which have not yet evaluated the way their firm ought to contribute to a sustainable future in a globalized business market ? some twenty years after the first Earth Summit highlighted its importance.

Wording to this effect is currently included within the draft summit outcomes document and this event will explain why it should remain.

Detailed programme

The objective of the Rio+20 Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.

This proposed event is focused on both assessing the progress made over the past twenty years since the first Earth Summit in relation to corporate sustainability reporting and in light of the increasingly globalised world explain the need for a new commitment this year to engage more companies on the journey toward business sustainability.

The theme of a ?green economy? is one which has begun to percolate mainstream policy discourses at the international level. However, without global corporate sustainability reporting the potential contribution of responsible investors toward a green global economy is significantly impaired.

In Rio in 1992 governments adopted Agenda21 and the Rio Principles of Sustainable Development. Both of these key documents include strong messages to Governments and the corporate community to increase the level and scope of their sustainable development activities and reporting.

Ten Years later Governments agreed in Johannesburg to ?enhance corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability?.
These calls for voluntary undertakings were somewhat successful and a process for corporate sustainability strategies and reporting initiatives expanded around the globe.

However, despite this progress, we are still a very long way indeed from the ultimate aim of truly transparent corporate reporting of environmental and social issues. In other words, these progressive voluntary initiatives have not been enough.

This year therefore is a momentous opportunity to use the experimental results of the first 20 years, for Governments to build on this progress and commit to a global convention on corporate sustainability reporting.

? Markets are driven by information. Relevant information on the long-term sustainability of business enterprises is not adequately available to investors, Governments and stakeholders.
? Our planet needs to find a new alignment of natural resource consumption, social equity, and economic growth. This transformation cannot evolve without corporate executives, investors, bondholders, civil society organizations and policy makers having hard business data about the sustainable path of that enterprise.

Importantly, this transparency initiative is a market based mechanism that promotes enhanced self regulation within the market. Our proposal is intended to be light touch, flexible and sensitive to the national context. Governments would simply be creating an enabling environment for responsible long term investment to support and promote responsible long term corporate behaviour.

Wording in relation to this proposal is currently included within the zero draft outcomes document. This event is designed to explain to policy makers at the Summit why this proposal is so important to achieving a ?green economy?.

- Paul Abberley, Chief Executive of Aviva Investors London and convenor of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition
- Caroline Spelman MP - Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK Government
- Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive Global Reporting Initiative - founding member of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition
- Supachi Panitchpakdi, Secretary General, UNCTAD - member of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition
- Georg Kell, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact - member of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition
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