2030 Observatory: study presents corporate sustainability monitoring platform

Platform was created by the Global Compact Brazilian Network to track companies’ alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it already shows the need to step up the pace of change.

Many ESG practices are currently being adopted in the business world. In this context, Gabriela Rozman, a researcher and manager of knowledge and partnerships at the United Nations Global Compact, has been working with The Nature Conservancy, the Carbon Disclosure Project, UN Women, Transparency International, consulting firm Falconi, Insper (a higher education institute in Sao Paulo), the University of Sao Paulo, the Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP) and the Brazilian Labor Prosecutors’ Office to develop the 2030 Observatory Platform. The goal is to present a program for monitoring companies’ public data related to social and environmental issues.

The public sector, civil society, companies and the United Nations have made a lot of progress in terms of sustainability, but they are still far from filling all the gaps needed to provide a decent life for people and the planet. The pandemic also hindered and worsened the situation. In this regard, it is noteworthy that there is little information today about how the business sector has advanced in terms of the sustainability agenda. In response, the 2030 Observatory will provide data and stimulate reflection, focusing on the themes of climate, gender, water, corruption and decent pay, which the Global Compact is currently working on.

Accordingly, the Global Compact aims to fill some gaps to minimize harm, optimizing some feasible targets for the sustainability agenda. Launched in 2000 by the United Nations, the Global Compact is now the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with more than 16,000 member companies and organizations, broken down into 70 local networks in 160 countries. When joining the Global Compact, companies may take part in one or more action platforms, which hold debates, share experiences, run courses and carry out projects, among other things.

2030 Observatory

The 2030 Observatory Platform is an initiative run by the Global Compact together with consulting firm Resultante and partner organizations. The objective is to monitor public data to see whether companies in Brazil are increasing their level of ambition in adopting Agenda 2030, the main global agenda for sustainable development. The program includes monitoring of companies’ public data and production of knowledge about corporate advances regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The observatory is split into two pillars:

  • Monitoring of companies’ public data related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals: This work is based on corporate sustainability commitments, which have been gaining increasing prominence.
  • Knowledge production: The focus here is on businesses’ commitment to a fairer and more egalitarian society, gaining a deep understanding of local social problems and identifying ways to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Based on these pillars, the 2030 Observatory has been collecting companies’ data about gender, climate, water, corruption and decent pay. In the area of gender, for example, it was found that of the 82 evaluated companies, just 15 have reported data on the number of black people in their workforce (BRF, Cemig, Cielo, Cosan, Dexco, Energias BR, Equatorial Energia, Itaú Unibanco, JSL, Movida, RaiaDrogasil, Raízen, Grupo SulAmérica, Vamos and Via). The figures reveal that black people still account for a relatively small share of leadership positions, demonstrating the need for more structured initiatives to retain underrepresented groups at companies.

In relation to climate, the main finding is continued low participation in, and commitment to, programs that mobilize companies to adopt carbon dioxide reduction goals to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Future challenges

According to researchers working on the 2030 Observatory, although many companies have made decisions in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, more needs to be done to build a more conscious society. Economic growth challenges are today intertwined with sustainability practices, so businesses ought to support and drive initiatives to enable balanced growth. “If companies step up their ambitions with regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the potential impacts will be significant,” the researchers say.

“The UN Global Compact stimulates and supports companies in building ambitious goals to generate positive impacts for society and the planet, while the 2030 Observatory will measure how companies are advancing collectively. It is important to understand that a business is only viable in the long term if the planet is healthy and everyone’s rights are guaranteed,” they conclude.

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