Tuesday, September 03, 2013

UN Agenda 21 As the Foundation for a Sustainable ESG Scorecard

I've already discussed UN Agenda 21 and ESG sustainability metrics.  Now is the time to put them together.  Agenda 21 is a useful set of criteria for a business to use in scoring its ESG valuation.  Yes, folks, I really did read the UN's original Agenda 21 materials and they are not as draconian as the scaremongering critics would have us believe.  The Agenda 21 objectives are very broad and do not come with measurable milestones or scales.  We'll have to explore the rest of the UN's development publications for metrics.

Here's the Rio 2012 Issues Brief on finance.  Investment banks and asset management firms can use this to ensure the financial instruments they manage have sustainable impacts.  They can also identify gaps to cover in targeting investment to meet development needs in emerging markets.

Here's the UN framework for sustainable consumption and production.  This is a broad framework, as broad as the global economy.  The UNEP report on "Making Investment Grade: The Future of Corporate Reporting" gives corporate officers practical advice on how to fulfill the intent of the Global Reporting Initiative.  The ISO is getting into the act with sustainability guidelines that comport with the UN's Rio+20 convention.

There's enough material in those links to keep C-suite task forces busy for months.  Crafting balanced scorecard standards is no picnic but it's worth it if the private sector wishes to identify future drivers of value.