A Just Transition that Leaves No One Behind

By Dan Neale, Social Transformation Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance

World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) will assess and benchmark the 2000 most influential companies on their SDG contributions. WBA recognises that a social transformation underpins the systems transformations that must happen to achieve a sustainable future. WBA recently launched the draft model for integrating social criteria into all benchmarks, to drive a ‘just transition that leaves no one behind’.

World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) sets out plans to ensure SDG Transformation benchmarks reflect a ‘just transition’ Read the scoping report

The WBA aims to build a movement to measure and incentivise business impact towards a sustainable future that works for everyone. We will assess the 2000 most influential companies (SDG2000) against the set of systems-transformations that need to happen to realise the 2030 Agenda – and produce freely available benchmarks from the data. Through our benchmarks we will hold a mirror up to company performance, to drive awareness, positive competition and progress.

The seven  key systems transformations cover digital, circular, food, energy, urban and finance. We recently  launched the scoping report for the social transformation, which sits at the heart of the WBA model and underpins all the other transformations.

1. Seven systems transformations – WBA

WBA will apply a social lens to every transformation assessment, so that we can understand whether the transition from the current to the desired system is a ‘just transition’ that manages social risk and leaves no one behind while creating a better future. 

While all companies should support human development through contributing to the 2030 Agenda, they must do it in a responsible way that respects the rights of workers, consumers and the wider community. This has long been our thinking at WBA and the current global pandemic has only underscored the importance of responsible business conduct in protecting and supporting workers, from delivery drivers in Birmingham, to textile workers in Bangladesh.

All companies must meet basic societal expectations, from respecting human rights to paying living wages and taxes. As part of our model, we are developing a set of core social indicators to assess the SDG2000 – across all systems and industries – and will consult on the draft indicators from June to September 2020.

It is proposed that these core social indicators will act as responsible business hurdles. If companies do not meet them, it will have a material impact on their assessment in subsequent SDG benchmarks. We believe this approach is vital to avoid SDG-washing and to ensure people are at the heart of all SDG transformations.


2) Proposed core-social topics to assess SDG2000 – WBA


This model aims to have legitimacy amongst businesses, workers, civil society, governments and academics, which means we need to engage with a global audience. With the current pandemic, our plans for roundtables have been cancelled but we are working even harder to get inputs from low-income / developing country stakeholder – particularly those who are not online. As such, we are calling on interested stakeholders to both take part in the consultation and to open up their networks to enable as many voices to be heard as possible.

WBA hosted two webinars on 12 May at 11:00 (CET) and 17:00 (CET) to explain its approach to the social transformation and to kick off the three-month consultation. If you would like to receive a recording and find out more, contact us on in*********@wo***********************.org 

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