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Corporate Sustainability Accounting: What Can and Should Corporations Be Doing?—Overview
Today’s global crises—financial, climate and health—as well as the Sustainable Development Goals have raised the bar in terms of expectations regarding corporate sustainability performance. They have also highlighted the need for sustainability policy and practices that address not only the symptoms of unsustainable development, but also the underlying causes associated with structural conditions that reproduce inequality, vulnerability and planetary degradation.
How, then, might corporate sustainability disclosure and reporting be repurposed to achieve these ends and, in so doing, measure and promote progress from the perspective of the transformational vision of the SDGs?
This is the Overview of Corporate Sustainability Accounting: What Can and Should Corporations Be Doing?, a research report published in November 2020 which addresses these questions, and one of the main outputs of phase one of the UNRISD research project Sustainable Development Performance Indicators.
Part 1 of the report assesses the current state of play, tracking the impressive expansion and ratcheting up of sustainability indicators over three decades. But it also identifies ongoing major weaknesses: the failure of disclosure and reporting to conform to basic accounting principles, as well as the neglect of a number of issue areas and indicators that are absolutely key for assessing progress towards sustainable development.
Part 2 delves into the specifics of disclosure from the perspective of transformative change, focusing on five key performance issues—fair remuneration, gender equality, corporate taxation, labour rights, and corporate political influence—and unpacking the approaches, quantitative indicators and normative targets that need to be adopted if corporate sustainability performance and disclosure is to contribute in any meaningful way to a sustainable future.
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Pub. Date: 20 Aug 2020