WBCSD members engage in measuring the true value of natural, social and financial capital

Geneva, February 3, 2014 - During a recent two-day workshop in Geneva, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) brought together more than 75 participants from 50 member companies to guide them through the latest management accounting and integrated reporting practices that aim to measure the true value of natural, social and financial capital in business.

Entitled “The Future of Measurement, Valuation and Reporting in the WBCSD, the workshop on 27-28 January, walked participants through current initiatives for measuring and valuing impacts on natural and social capital, as well as integrated reporting. Participants discussed how those tools and approaches need to evolve so that measurement, valuation and reporting becomes more practical and valuable for business, people and nature. Key partner organizations at the workshop included the Natural Capital Coalition (former TEEB for Business Coalition), the B Team, GRI, CDP, the Moore Foundation, and IUCN.

During the first day, participants expressed that it can often be an overwhelming area to dive into, with so many different, sometimes competing, methodologies, management systems, reporting practices and standards that don’t seem to link up. The WBCSD highlighted how important it is to build the business case for robust Measurement, Valuation and Reporting (MVR); develop a common understanding of terminology; and leverage progressive efforts that companies and groups have already been working on.

"An integrated approach to MVR covering the full spectrum of sustainable development issues is key to enabling fact-based business decisions,” said Alan Kreisberg, Senior Vice President Environment and Public Affairs at Lafarge. Lafarge has developed a “sustainability compass” to facilitate the development of business strategies incorporating sustainable development. 

On the second day of the workshop, member participants expressed their enthusiasm for this area of work, and agreed on a draft ‘opportunity statement’ that encourages the WBCSD to continue to lead and innovate management accounting and integrated reporting for natural, social and financial capital. Participants said they are interested in remaining engaged in this area, with several already committing to champion the effort.

“We believe that non-financial reporting, is increasingly important to show if and how companies are creating societal value. The WBCSD is providing leadership in helping business align around what this means, and defining the standards and framework that will be needed for this new area to gain traction”, said José Lopez, Executive Vice President, Operations and GLOBE at Nestlé.

More on the WBCSD’s work on Measurement, Valuation and Reporting

WBCSD is beginning strategic discussions on how it can play a more central role in taking an integrated approach to measurement, valuation and reporting on natural, social and financial capital in business.

Important elements of such an integrated framework already exist, or are being developed. Such activities are either housed within WBCSD and our members companies, or in partnering organizations. Some of the strategic questions the WBCSD is exploring include: are the existing and emerging tools the right ones to drive change within business? Where do gaps exist? How can we frame this space so that it becomes more practical, valuable and actionable for business, society and nature? How can we harmonize existing approaches and tools to ensure the outcome will be true value management by global corporations.

The purpose of the WBCSD’s work in this space is to ensure a practical approach is available to business in order to account for external impacts of their activities on people and the planet-- it is about integrated performance management.




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