How companies can measure social and environmental progress

Our current measures of progress are primarily financial and short-term. Macro-level reporting has had a particular emphasis on GDP and corporate reporting has largely been focused on shareholder value. In the context of broader social objectives, our current approaches to reporting are neither sufficient nor effective. While there has been a proliferation of standards and frameworks, there is an absence of common terminologies, guidelines and market standards, and little common understanding of how business is impacting environmental sustainability and people’s wellbeing. Both macro (government) and micro (corporate) reporting must be shifted away from an almost exclusive emphasis on short term financial results. There must also be a clearer relationship between macro and corporate reporting so that businesses demonstrate how their activities align with the interests of the society in which they operate. This session discusses how we get there. It discusses frameworks seeking to introduce coherence and commonality. It discusses the risks and opportunities of these frameworks. It also discusses options for applying standards a global scale.

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