The need for companies to contribute towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) has received much attention over the past few years; the challenge of a harmonised reporting framework however remains.
In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been focusing its efforts on addressing this reporting challenge. UNCTAD is an intergovernmental organisation focused on promoting the interests of developing states in world trade.
UNCTAD has partnered with SAIPA – the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) – to host an online workshop on 6-7 October 2021 to unpack the topic of sustainability reporting for entities contributing towards the implementation of the SDG.
“SAIPA partnered with UNCTAD to host this vital initiative as our members are often at the forefront of producing these reports,” says Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA. Elena Botvina, Economic Affairs Officer of Division of Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD noted: “At this difficult time, the task of promoting high-quality reporting on the financial and non-financial performance of enterprises has become even more important than ever. There is an urgent need to improve the consistency and comparability in sustainability reporting. UNCTAD continues providing member States with practical solutions to such timely issues and challenges”.
The two-day workshop will introduce attendees to the UNCTAD tool called GCI – short for “Guidance on core indicators for entity reporting on the contribution towards implementation of Sustainability Development Goals". The GCI will assist governments to design policies and build institutional mechanisms to collect data from companies’ reports. This data will reflect the private sector’s contribution to the SDGs in a consistent and comparable manner. The CGI also aims to assist companies to provide data on a limited number of universal and core SDG baseline indicators. In this regard, Elena Botvina, Economic Affairs Officer of Division of Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD highlighted, “A set of robust performance indicators such as the GCI framework is essential for facilitating efficient resource allocation to sustainable activities, particularly to developing countries. There are clear indications that this work has already influenced thinking on how private actors contribute to the achievement of the SDGs”.
The workshop programme will include a presentation by SAIPA on sustainability reporting practice in South Africa, a status update by the JSE on sustainability reporting for listed entities in South Africa, and an overview of the UNCTAD Guidance on Core Sustainability Reporting Indicators. Other highlights will include findings of case studies conducted in South Africa and other countries, as well as an update on the international trends and developments in SDG reporting.
UNCTAD and SAIPA invites and encourages all entities interested in sustainability or SDG reporting in South Africa to attend this two-day webinar by registering at https://saipa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckd-ChpjstGNbvV5xomTut4CyHVpNJtiE0
For more information on the UNCTAD initiative, https://unctad.org/project/enabling-policy-frameworks-enterprise-sustainability-and-sdg-reporting-africa-and-latin