Governance and Ethics
This includes the operational principles that support embedded sustainability and the achievement of positive outcomes in each of the other interconnected social and environmental issues outlined in this framework.
Interested in understanding your own company's journey? Consider undertaking this free, preliminary practices self-assessment.
This resource offers short explanations of sustainability in the context of board oversight, management accountability, executive compensation, corporate policies and management systems, and public policy. This is part of The CERES Roadmap for Sustainability.
This report offers insight into the debate around whether or not fiduciary duty is a legitimate barrier to investors integrating sustainability into their investment processes. It was produced by Principles for Responsible Investing in collaboration with UNEP and the UN Global Compact. The report is based on interviews with over fifty investors, policy makers, lawyers, and regulators.
This exploratory self-assessment was created to evaluate the integration of key sustainability competencies within board-level decision-making. The multiple-choice questionnaire assesses ESG considerations across five core pillars: purpose & business model; risk management; engagement with management; engagement with stakeholders; and non-financial reporting. Towards building a baseline, this tool may be of help to corporate directors, executives, corporate secretaries, risk committees, and other governance and sustainability professionals tasked with assessing the board’s effectiveness of ESG oversight.
This brief from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explores sustainability skills and competencies for senior leaders, and may help you in identifying where to direct attention towards development within your own company. The brief highlights six key leadership features emerging as common themes among companies: understanding the context, managing complexity and coping with uncertainty, systems thinking, working beyond boundaries, leading change, and enabling innovation.
This resource highlights the importance of fostering knowledge and a common understanding among senior partners before developing a strategy on how to be a sustainable and innovative business. This case study explores PwC's sustainability journey, and how the company redefined what was needed from their leaders. Equipping their management board with a broader and more forward-looking mindset was crucial to empowering them to help clients with transitioning to more sustainable operating models.
The Sustainable Board Roadmap is a tool for boards, management, and other governance professionals and teams to assess and benchmark the board’s ESG / sustainability governance practices. The Sustainable Board Roadmap includes 39 practices for board members, and consists of evaluation questions and a ranking system that allow for a gap assessment of leading practices on ESG oversight by boards. This tool will help improve awareness of emerging trends on sustainability issues, and will help identify which practices are most relevant for your organisation.
A social purpose business is one whose enduring reason for being is to create a better world. As pressure mounts on industry to redefine its role in society and to help communities navigate turbulence, it has become paramount for companies to evaluate how their growth and reach can become a uniquely positive force. This short paper from Coro Strandberg will help you to understand what social purpose is and what it is not, as well as how you can distinguish it from mission, vision, and values.
It is all too common that traditional and cultural knowledge is made secondary to Westernized worldviews, and particularly within industry. However, there is tremendous, untapped value in using unique cultural and intergenerational ways of knowing to provide a better understanding of complex issues. This short, evocative video explores how rainmakers in Nganyi, Kenya have perfected the art of interpreting plant responses and animal behaviors to predict weather, and how researchers are bringing together ancient and modern systems of thinking to build climate resilience in Africa.
The Indigenous Navigator is a framework and set of tools created for - and by - Indigenous Peoples to systematically monitor the level of recognition and implementation of their rights. They have created community-based monitoring tools that help to illustrate the realisation of Indigenous rights on the ground; a community data portal to make implementation gaps more visible; and tools, publications, tutorials, and other resources to engage and support Indigenous Peoples in monitoring the implementation of their rights. The Indigenous Navigator is an excellent resource both for change agents and leaders responsible for building relations with Indigenous communities and for those seeking comprehensive tools to help anchor their work in the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The findings and recommendations of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report are essential knowledge for those who live and do business in Canada, and especially for those whose business activities immediately affect Indigenous communities.
Drawing on six years of testimony from witnesses, this resource explains the history of Indigenous cultural genocide in Canada, including the legacy of the residential school system and of institutional discrimination and assimilation; explores the challenges of reconciliation against enduring colonial politics and economics; and issues 94 calls to action that your organisation can directly or indirectly advance.
This short video from Murray Sinclair - the chair of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada - is a heartfelt and accessible primer that will help you to understand the context of the residential school system on survivors and their descendants, and provides thoughtful questions that can help guide your company's approach to advancing its relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
The National Inquiry’s Final Report is a landmark document that reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada. This report is comprised of truths and testimonies from family members, survivors of violence, experts, and Knowledge Keepers, and culminates in 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries, and all Canadians.
This document will help to familiarise you with Indigenous people's context of multigenerational and intergenerational trauma and marginalisation when engaging with, investing in, and supporting their communities and businesses.
This report from the Reconciliation & Responsible Investment Initiative uses a broad set of indicators to highlight corporate Canada's progress in advancing reconciliation. The indicators address five central themes: recognition of Indigenous peoples in diversity policies and corporate leadership; employment and advancement of Indigenous employees; employment-related training and education; commitment to upholding Indigenous rights; and community investment and support. With this criteria the report provides an analysis of how 78 Canadian companies across a range of industries are equitably engaging with Indigenous Peoples, and includes key findings in relation to hiring, training, referencing Indigenous Peoples in policies, and setting formal commitments to uphold and advance Indigenous rights. This is an important resource for understanding the work that businesses in Canada are undertaking to meet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, and may help you to understand some of the approaches that are being adopted to advance reconciliation.
This resource from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples was created to help you progress toward reconciliation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. The toolkit is structured around four specific areas of reconciliation: Reflection and Learning, Leading Transformation, Inclusive Workplaces, and Outreach and Engagement. This toolkit was designed to be flexible; the principles and lessons can be applied across the spectrum of reconciliation and relations-building with Indigenous Peoples.
This book from Bob Joseph, founder and President of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., is a good starting point for understanding preferred Indigenous terms; common myths and stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous worldviews and barriers to employment; Aboriginal Rights and Title; the differences between types of Indigenous leadership; and the effects of UNDRIP on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The book also introduces a training model (RESPECT) that will help you to build effective relationships with Indigenous Peoples. This resource will be of particular benefit to leaders and communications professionals working for organisations with operations in North America.
This concise guide provides a handy list of practical tips to incorporate in meetings with Indigenous Peoples. This is a good primer for leaders and change agents who are new to Indigenous relations in business, and particularly within Canada.
Gregory Younging's book provides comprehensive advice on culturally appropriate publishing practices for Indigenous content, including how to respect Indigenous oral traditions and knowledge, and when to seek the advice of Elders. The book includes succinct stype principles, identifies terminology to avoid, and provides case studies that demonstrate best practices. This resource will help you to explore the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples and build a better undersanding of how the oppressive relationship between settler communities and Indigenous Peoples is reflected in language.
This is a great book for understanding Indigenous issues in Canada. This resource from Chelsea Vowel unpacks culture and identity; the legacy of state violence; the relationship between land, law, and treaties; and more.
This workbook by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee features processes, prompts, and links to resources that can help to guide and shift your framings and actions away from colonial defaults. It addresses topics such as colonial narratives, helping and harm, intention and impact, and reconciliation, and includes an accessible social change framework and a decolonizing process map. This book is a good starting point for critically examining your company's maturity in its decolonizing journey and for creating the space necessary for self-reflection and conscientious change.
This guide from the International Council on Mining & Metals was created to help business leaders and change agents ensure mutually beneficial outcomes through better understanding of Indigenous Peoples, their rights, and how they connect with mining activities. The guide is broken down into four parts: good practice guidance, which explores engagement and Indigenous participation, managing impacts, agreements, and dealing with grievances; a toolkit; case studies; and additional information.
Although this guide was created for the mining & materials sector, it is a worthwhile and relevant read for leaders and sustainability professionals in other industries.
The Fair Tax Foundation was launched in 2014, and was developed by a team of tax justice, corporate responsibility, and ethical consumerism experts. The product of their efforts was the Fair Tax Mark: an accreditation scheme created to encourage and recognise businesses that pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place. Their assessment process involves the review of policy, reporting, and tax payments, and includes suggestions for improvement. If your company is motivated and committed to advancing tax justice and transparency, an excellent first step is to review the Fair Tax Mark's standards, guidance notes, and FAQs and to pursue accreditation.
The Leeds Building Society provides an excellent example of tax transparency that can help you to benchmark your tax payment-related performance and to craft a credible position statement on fair tax payments. These examples provide a consice and coherent explanation for why the Leeds Building Society believes it is important to pay the right amount of tax, at the right time, in compliance with the spirit and letter of the law, and they explain why the Leeds Building Society was personally motivated to pursue Fair Tax Mark accreditation. These resources also explain how they manage and monitor tax risk, and how they plan to engage with relevant tax authorities to ensure compliance.
Launched in 2020, the Financial Secrecy Index is a tool for understanding global financial secrecy, tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions, and illicit financial flows. The tool features an interactive overview map and interactive nation-centered databases that ranks jurisdictions according to transparent qualitative and quantitative criteria. This tool will help you to understand that most of the world’s most important providers of financial secrecy are, in fact, among the world’s biggest and wealthiest countries, and will empower you to directly confront offshore secrecy and the global infrastructure that creates and perpetuates it.
This report aims to highlight the potential strength of effective cross-sector partnerships in delivering against broader societal sustainability goals. KPMG have supplemented their own experiences with one-to-one interviews and research to put forward a framework of eight factors that should be considered when creating, operating, and sustaining collaborative partnerships.
The article discusses how long-term sustainable collaborations with other organisations (both public and private) can help businesses tackle complex environmental and social issues. Through research with businesses, government, and NGO leaders, authors Albani and Henderson provide seven ways that businesses can successfully collaborate.
This brief case from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) demonstrates how mutual benefits can be derived by businesses collaborating with NGOs and communities to explore opportunities for investment. It explores how a non-profit organisation worked with a major mining company to develop a new approach to engaging communities, and helped shift the company's emphasis on investments in philanthropy towards a participatory approach to investments that satisfied both the company's and community's needs.
When it comes to community investment, often times practitioners take a predictive approach (where we expect A to lead to B and then C). However, this doesn't tend to align with the multi-faceted nature of sustainability issues. This article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review will help you to become familiar with the idea of developing a emergent approach to community investment. It is targeted at philanthropic foundations, but should be valuable for a diverse range of sustainability practitioners.
This report offers a comprehensive summary of how collaboration is key to unlocking sustainability. The report starts with the premise that no single organisation or sector has the knowledge or resources to "go it alone," and explores the nature and characteristics of different types of multi-sector partnerships before offering a model for the creation of cross-sector partnerships. The report ends with a series of focused recommendations and good practice for different groups (Business, NGOs, Government, and Communities) engaging in partnerships.
This handbook from the International Finance Corporation was created to support company engagement with stakeholder groups "external" to core operations, such as affected communities, local government authorities, and other affected parties. It is divided into two parts: key concepts and principles of stakeholder engagement, and integrating this engagement with the project cycle. In the first part is a useful section on grievance management, which highlights key insights and offers practical advice on managing and resolving dissatisfaction and disputes. This section may be of help to project managers who want to take a proactive approach to preventing grievances from arising and to effectively and equitably resolving them when they emerge.
This comprehensive manual was created by Ipieca to provide step-by-step guidance for the design and implementation of operational-level grievance mechanisms, as well as the design and management of corporate-level frameworks for resolving community grievances. The manual draws upon the practical experiences of seven pilot projects created by Ipieca member companies, as well as shared learning from Ipieca members and stakeholders, and will be of particular benefit to operations managers, project managers, policy-makers, and other leaders responsible for managing relations with community partners.
Although this manual was created by and for the oil and gas industry, the manual includes an expansive array of instructions and helpful grievance mechanism tools that can be applied to a broad range of industry and operations contexts.
Are you designing new goals or interested in benchmarking your goals against leading practice? To help advance progress in setting credible goals, we will maintain a public goals database containing leading sustainability goals and commitments set by large companies globally. Search by issue, company, industry, goal type, or SDG target.
If you are aware of goals that take a credible approach that should be featured in our database, please let us know.
Is your company interested in taking a public position on an ESG issue?
To help companies develop strong, clear positions, we will maintain a public database containing leading positions articulated by large companies globally.
Our governance guide outlines how companies should articulate their positions, and we have applied this criteria to the positions featured in this database.
There is growing pressure among companies to link social and environmental limits to corporate strategy and goal-setting. However, the result is often a lengthy document that fails to make strategic connections between specific issues and their implications on business decision-making. We developed this guidebook to help you articulate a concise and transparent board level position on key environmental, social, and governance issues. Drawing upon in-depth analyses of over 3000 board position statements; over 300 interviews with CEOs, directors, and board chairs; and concepts outlined in our series on the Road to Context, this guidebook provides a checklist for crafting a contextual board position statement and includes examples from a range of industries and global settings.
As ESG reporting requirements evolve, many companies find themselves struggling to provide forward-looking, investor-grade information. This guide from WBCSD provides a 3-part structured process for selecting and structuring inputs during the ESG reporting decision-making process. For practitioners involved in corporate disclosure activities, this handbook directly addresses many of the most common questions that Boards of Directors and other executives have about ESG disclosure.
This report from BSR draws on features from notable reporting standards and frameworks - including GRI, SASB, and the TCFD - and presents a five-step process for effective disclosure. While the first step in couched in materiality, from which leading companies are moving beyond, steps 2-5 will be particularly helpful for first-time reporters to better evaluate and understand their audience and the presentation and formatting of their report.
Traceability is an important part of developing a sustainable value chain. Part II of this guide from the UN Global Compact will help you to familiarize yourself with the three main approaches to traceability: Product Segregation, Mass Balance, and Book and Claim. Part III offers practical guidance on implementing traceability. The guide also includes an annex that lists the most relevant traceability issues and actors for ten common commodities.
This primer provides a helpful high-level summary of artificial intelligence that will benefit executives, board members, and other business leaders. It explains the concept and types of AI, as well as their impact on workers; highlights the risks of data bias and insecurity, privacy concerns, and regulatory risks; and examines the opportunities, such as those related to workforce training and collaborative machine-human applications.
More attention needs to be paid to ensuring corporations recognize and reward the value provided by rest of the workforce. This brief from SHARE highlights how often employee performance is overlooked when considering the contributions that a well-compensated CEO provides. The report also looks at ways to elevate the place of the workforce within listed corporations so that boards, executives, and investors can ensure that employees are incentivised.
There is a growing number of shareholder resolutions requesting the adoption and disclosure of environmental, employee, social, and governance factors into executive compensation. This article will help you to understand why the inclusion of EESG criteria into executive compensation programs is an irreversible trend. It explores key obstacles and opportunities and how to navigate them, and provides advice from global directors and executives who have integrated - or are in the process of integrating - EESG into their compensation plans.
This resource is part of the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance series by the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum, and was informed by insights from the Driving Accountability: Integrating EESG into executive compensation program.
The "COVID Cut" is Not Enough: Addressing the Negative Social Impacts of Excessive Executive Compensation
This article explains how COVID-19 cuts to executive pay (taken at the base salary level) are a hollow gesture - instead, excess pay to leaders requires wholistic compensation reform to better re-allocate capital. This resource will help you to be understand the capacity of investors to create equitable change around compensation.
This comprehensive paper from UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment initiative and Global Compact LEAD (a leadership platform within the UN Global Compact) facilitates discussions between a diverse group of institutional investors and companies to identify the rationale, feasibility, and effectiveness of corporate practices, which include environmental, social, and governance factors within executive management goals and incentive schemes. The main objective of the resulting guidance is to support and enhance the investor-company dialogue on these practices by explaining major opportunities and challenges, as well as practical examples. This document provides a tangible engagement tool to guide dialogue between shareholders and investee companies on this topic.
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