• Lead-organizer: Prince Accounting for Sustainability Project
  • 09:00 - 10:30
  • Date: 20 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-4

Measure What Matters: a coherent global framework - aligning performance indicators for global sustainable development, national beyond GDP metrics and improved corporate reporting

Organizing partners

The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)
• Part of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, A4S was established by The Prince of Wales to help ensure that we are not battling to meet 21st century challenges with, at best, 20th century decision making and reporting systems. A4S brings together the finance and accounting community from business, government, academia and the capital markets to rethink the fundamentals of accounting and develop the institutions, systems, tools and approaches needed to build a sustainable economy. The project’s work focuses on ways to integrate measures of environmental health, social well-being and economic performance to provide a ‘future-proofed’ framework for decision-making, to build the capacity needed to take action.
The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)
• The International Integrated Reporting Council was established by A4S, the Global Reporting Initiative (‘GRI’) and the International Federation of Accountants (‘IFAC’) in August 2010 to bring together all of the key stakeholders – from regulators, securities exchanges, accounting standard setters, the UN, business, investor and civil society worlds – to set out a pathway towards a new model of corporate reporting, fit-for-purpose for the 21st Century. Members include: the World Bank, IASB, IOSCO, IFAC, UNGC, UNEP-FI, UN PRI, UNCTAD and WBCSD. The IIRC is currently working with over seventy companies and other organizations from across the world to pilot initial recommendations.
The Green Economy Coalition
• The Green Economy Coalition (GEC) is the world’s largest civil society movement working together for a green economy. It is drawn from a diverse set of organisations and sectors from NGOs, research institutes, UN organisations, business and trade unions. The economy is failing to deliver either environmental sustainability or social equity and the coalition was formed to help develop and deliver a new vision – prosperity for all with one-planet-limits delivered through a fair, inclusive green economy.
• Members comprise: Aldersgate Group, Bellagio Forum` for Sustainable Development (BFSD), Biomimicry Institute, The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), Consumers International (CI), Development Alternatives, The Ecologic Institute , Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement , waise Facility (EMLI), Eco-union, Ecodes, Ethical Markets Media, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Global Sustainability Institute (GSI), Global Footprint Network, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Institute for Environment and Development, International Union for Conservation of Nature, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC CSI IGB), International Labour Organisation, The Natural Step, Philips, STEPS Centre, The SEED initiative, UN Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative, Vitae Civilis and WWF.
Stakeholder Forum
• Stakeholder forum is an international multi-stakeholder organization which exists at the interface of civil society and the UN. It facilitates the engagement of stakeholders from multiple perspectives in international governance processes, educates organizations on how to engage effectively in these processes, and promotes the idea of building stakeholder democracy. Stakeholder Forum acts as the National Committee for UNEP in the UK.


If we are to create a resilient economy that provides a better life for all within the ecological limits of the planet, a new frame of reference for decision-making is required, involving new ways to measure progress.

The event will focus on the three major proposals in the negotiating text:

• The momentum for a set of goals at the global level that focus on sustainable development

• Proposals for a set of national performance metrics that go beyond GDP

• The call for more integrated and robust corporate reporting that helps to redefine business value

Our proposition is that in order for these metrics to be transformational, then these need to be aligned against the same broad objectives such that they work together to drive change.

The purpose of the event will be to discuss how the processes to develop these metrics can be linked such that these systems are mutually reinforcing. The outcome will be to build upon a working group of key organizations and governments to take this forward.

Detailed programme

If we are to move to the sustainable economy we so urgently need, a new frame of reference for decision-making is required, involving new ways to measure progress at the global, national and corporate level. A measurement framework which incorporates economic growth, social equity and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, is needed; one that, at the same time, provides a common set of goals for action by business and governments at the local, national and international levels.
There are already many governments, organizations and businesses working on improved performance measurement systems, and this has emerged as a key theme in the lead up to the conference. However, much of this work is currently being undertaken in isolation. If such metrics are to be transformative, then the goals at a global, national and corporate level must be aligned against the same broad objectives such that they work together to drive change.
There is a need for greater collaboration between those working on each area, so that the resulting measurement systems work together to deliver a sustainable economy. By aligning the information used by governments, businesses, investors and other stakeholders around the same broad objectives, decisions made at each level of our economy should reinforce, rather than contradict, those at other levels.

This will also provide business with vital information on the broader context in which they are operating, and similarly provide governments with a broader information set about companies and the impact they have on the wider economy and society.
The event will bring together key actors from the private and public sector with key representatives from civil society to discuss how a roadmap from Rio can create aligned objectives and an overarching framework for measuring progress.
The private sector will be crucial in the drive towards delivering a sustainable economy and will underpin actions taken at a national and international level. Developing the right performance metrics on which companies report (and therefore on which investors allocate capital) is therefore vital to driving this change.
Over the past five years there has been growing recognition of the need for alternative metrics to GDP. There are numerous initiatives around the world including in France, Italy, the UK, China, Canada, Bhutan, the OECD and the US through the state of Maryland, to develop alternative indicators that will allow nation states to keep track of which activities contribute to quality of life and which detract from it.
If the international community is to move towards a sustainable economy, there is a need for a set of metrics that provide an integrated framework for tracking our progress.
The event will be chaired by A4S with high level speakers from each of the three agendas.
Contribution to outcomes
Achieving the necessary transformation in measurement and reporting is an enormous task, but it is a task that cannot be shirked if the information needed so urgently to meet the challenges of the 21st century is to be provided. A measurement framework that provides the insights needed for effective decision-making at national and organizational levels, grounded in a set of global sustainable development goals which provide a clear direction on priorities and boundaries, is a vital building block to enable the world’s economy to evolve and maintain standards of living for people who already enjoy a good quality of life, and create them for the hundreds of millions who do not, without the present unsustainable over-consumption of the world’s finite natural resources.
This session, bringing together key contributors to the discussion on Sustainable Development Goals, Beyond GDP and Corporate Reporting from public and private sectors will help to develop consensus and commitment around a roadmap for development of a measurement framework that focuses on the information needed to achieve a sustainable economy involving the organizations required to achieve this change.


His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (via video message)
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK
Paula Caballero, Director for Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia
Majid Al Suwaidi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates
Dasho Karma Tshiteem, The Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan
Oliver Greenfield, Convenor of the Green Economy Coalition
Paul Druckman, Chief Executive Officer, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)
Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Philippe Joubert, Senior Advisor, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
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