Date posted: 10/08/2020 2 min read

How to report on the SDGs

SDG policies and reporting can build ‘a better future for all’.

In brief:

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used to create a fairer, more resilient and cleaner economy
  • Chartered Accountants ANZ joins the call to action for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19
  • Corporate reporting is key to providing the transparency needed to assess progress against the SDGs in a meaningful way

As a member of the Global Compact Network Australia, Chartered Accountants ANZ joined the call to action to adopt policies in Australia for sustainable recovery from COVID-19. In the open letter to the Australian Prime Minister, three recommendations have been made that focus on using the SDGs as a framework for policies that would strengthen the economy to ensure "a better future for all":

  1. Use the SDGs to unite all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy
  2. Use the SDGs to prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and level-up regional and social inequalities
  3. Use the SDGs to build coherent policies for a healthy plant and to aid the transition to net zero

An open letter to the Prime Minister

As a member of the Global Compact Network Australia, CA ANZ joined the call to action to adopt policies in Australia for sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

Read open letter

SDGs are part of the 2030 Agenda and were adopted by Australia in 2015. In December 2017, the Senate referred SDGs to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and to report back by November 2018.

Chartered Accountants ANZ lodged its submission to the Australian Senate Inquiry into the United Nations SDGs in early 2018. In it, we noted the lack of awareness of the SDGs among the Australian community and the important role of the Australian Government in communicating the value of the SDGs to the wider Australian Community.

In February 2019, the Inquiry released a 190 page report outlining 18 recommendations as a result of the extensive inquiry. The recommendations include the publication of a national SDG Implementation plan and an indicators based assessment every 2 years tracking Australia’s performance against the SDGs. The committee also recommends that the Australian Government partner with private and tertiary sector stakeholders to develop and disseminate Australian guidance to ensure consistent and transparent reporting and minimise the reporting burden for businesses. The Inquiry also strongly recommends that the SDGs are integrated throughout the international development program and to prioritise the commitment to leave no one behind.

SDGs and the future of corporate reporting

Major international corporate reporting standard setters and framework providers have released a position paper supporting the development of better reporting guidelines for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Corporate Reporting Dialogue (CRD) brings together the major standard setters and framework providers internationally. The Dialogue works together to provide guidance and structure for businesses to be transparent, accountable and to ensure better decision-making that promotes financial stability and sustainable development.

The primary purpose of the Dialogue is to promote greater coherence, consistency and comparability between corporate reporting frameworks and to this end it look for cooperation and alignment between key international standard setters and framework developers. The paper was prepared by Corporate Reporting Dialogue participants: CDP, Climate Disclosure Standards Board, Global Reporting Initiative, International Integrated Reporting Council, International Organization for Standardization and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

The paper notes the increasing recognition that companies' value creation goes beyond financial value to include environmental and social value amongst others. Further developments support the increasing focus on integration of financial and non- financial information to demonstrate how companies create value for stakeholders over the short and long-term.

Sustainable development and financial stability are mutually dependent dimensions of a sustainable, inclusive economy: a stable financial system forms the basis for sound economic development and is a prerequisite for sustainable environmental and social outcomes. In other words, society will not allocate financial capital to achieve environmental and social outcomes when the basic condition of a stable economy is not met.

The paper notes that, collectively, CRD participants are collectively able to address all SDGs. It includes a table that shows which SDGs are addressed by each of the Dialogue participants' frameworks at the level of topics and/or indicators.

Sustainable development and financial stability are mutually dependent dimensions of a sustainable, inclusive economy.

Better Alignment Project

At the 2018 World Congress of Accountants, the CRD announced the Better Alignment Project, a two-year project focused on driving better alignment in the corporate reporting landscape to make it easier for companies to prepare effective and coherent disclosures that meet the information needs of capital markets and society.

In September 2019, the CRD released their report 'Driving alignment in climate-related reporting' which presented the outcomes from the first year of the Better Alignment Project. The report focused on climate change reporting and alignment of the various existing reporting standards and frameworks such as CDP and TCFD.

The SDGs and the future of corporate reporting

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were introduced in 2015 are being increasingly implemented in global society.

Download report

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Report

on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Download Report

Our advocacy

Find out about our latest advocacy efforts.

Read more