Leveraging Corporate Governance for Accountability and Transparency

Strong and effective internal-corporate-governance mechanisms are pivotal to augment the scope, depth, and credibility of integrated SDG communications and reporting. Conversely, integrated disclosure of SDG information is critical not only for investors and stakeholders but also for the internal management and governance of the company.

Companies should leverage existing corporate-level governance mechanisms to monitor their SDG strategy and performance and improve the quality of SDG information.

Companies should avoid developing separate SDG governance processes as part of issuing sustainable financial products. Instead, they should use corporate-level governance mechanisms to monitor their SDG strategy and performance and leverage them for the credibility of sustainable finance.
CFO Insight

Monitoring of the SDG strategy should be integrated into a company’s existing corporate-governance mechanisms, including oversight by the board of directors and committees, risk management, internal controls and audit, external verification, and reporting of financial and sustainability information. A key element of this integration is to use governance mechanisms to assess and mitigate the potential downside of SDG activities.

The Role of CFOs in Strengthening the Quality of SDG Data
The role of CFOs is critical in improving the quality and pertinence of SDG communication and reporting by describing the elements of the CFO Principles (impact thesis, KPIs, strategy, investments, and the financing strategy).
CFOs can also help strengthen the quality of the data used to measure SDG impact against KPIs and targets and to explain the connection between the company’s SDG impact thesis and its overall impact thesis, with an analysis of how SDG investments create long-term value, including financial.
CFO Insight

Board oversight and internal controls on financial and nonfinancial information play a critical role in ensuring that the company is communicating and reporting relevant, faithful, and timely information.

Ultimately, the goal is to integrate the monitoring and control of SDG-related information into a company’s strategy and decision-making process at the highest level.

External Verification and Assurance to Improve the Credibility of SDG-Related Information

External verification and assurance of SDG-related information can assess both the relevancy and the accuracy of SDG-related information, including KPIs and targets. They provide additional information for investors on the credibility of a company’s performance on its sustainability strategies and investments and guide them in the capital allocation process.

As an additional step, a company can establish a steering group of independent sustainability experts to enhance the monitoring and accuracy of its SDG-related data.