From SDGs to ESG: Bright Cities and Bright Companies

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There is a direct connection between the acronyms SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of “2030 Agenda”, signed within the framework of the UN, and the hottest acronym of the moment in the business world, ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance).

Both refer to the ideas of sustainability and “sustainable development”, northern ideas that seek to give concreteness in different scopes and scales and represent historical moments of the same long path of global discussions that took shape, above all, from the famous “Brundtland Report ” from 1987.

There, the term “sustainable development” gained definition and, since then, has moved from a strictly environmental focus to recognizing the interdependence of the environmental with the social and the economic, which became part of the so-called “sustainability tripod”, which would soon expand further to include considerations of institutionality and governance.

In the case of the acronym SDGs, now in 2015, in the continuous effort to make the concept of sustainable development a concrete reality, it appeared from the “2030 Agenda” in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets, united under the themes of the “5 P’s” (people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership), approved by all the countries gathered at the United Nations General Assembly.

The SDGs then began to inspire the action of a multiplicity of social actors, especially international bodies and governments (national, regional, and local); and its effects are likely to persist and continue to grow as more and more participants come to support this crucial effort.

Other important actors for achieving the SDGs are companies, which already in 2000 signaled their global commitment to sustainable development by adhering to the United Nations Global Compact, a non-binding pact to encourage companies around the world to adopt sustainable policies and report on their implementation.

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. Under his supervision and that of the Swiss government in 2005, twenty financial institutions from 9 countries participated in the “Who Cares Wins” Conference, whose final report calls on the financial market to include non-financial information, but with a possible financial impact, in their investment analysis, these popularized, then, under the acronym ESG. From then on, attention to ESG continued to grow in worldwide popularity.

We can say, therefore, that the two acronyms, SDGs and ESG, meet in their purposes for sustainable development. ESG, more narrowly in scale, translates sustainability considerations at a micro level (in companies and investment portfolios), and the SDGs at a macro level (local, regional, national and global).

What is expected, therefore, is that the alignment of companies’ ESG strategies (at their micro level), with those of macro-level sustainability outlined by the SDGs, represents the best solution in terms of maximizing positive socio-economic impact for sustainable development.

And such fruitful synergy will undoubtedly come from rigorous care with the collection, organization, and dissemination of sustainability data from public entities and companies. That’s where we can help! Now moving from our expertise with Bright Cities and public sector data to broadening our focus with a new program aimed at the business sector, Bright Companies.

The understanding and application of ESG criteria by Brazilian companies is increasingly broad, evidenced by the increase in their sustainability reports, in addition to the many events, courses, webinars, and news, especially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is already a lot of evidence that acting guided by an ESG strategy increases competitiveness, whether in the domestic or foreign market, produces lower costs, improves reputation, and brings greater resilience in the midst of uncertainties and vulnerabilities.

A company’s various stakeholders (investors, consumers, suppliers, workers, communities, and governments) are increasingly aware of the importance and take into account in their decisions the topics covered by the acronym ESG. These closely seek an indication of solidity in the conduction of an organization’s ESG strategy, evidenced mainly by reports or other corporate communications, the quality of which will depend on the quality of handling a diverse set of data.

There is no single ESG reporting standard to assess or judge compliance with corporate ESG. Metrics and weighting schemes differ, which can make proper comparisons difficult. There are many institutions that provide guidelines for companies to understand what ESG-related information they should disclose. Through their standards, they influence companies on which ESG indicators to report and which methods are used to measure those metrics.

It’s to simplify all this that we created Bright Companies!

From the ESG diagnosis, the strategies are elaborated, and these can be aligned with the internal demands or, in a more ambitious and impacting way to the localities, that is, the needs of the company’s municipality. In this synergy, under the various forms of public-private collaboration, Bright Companies can also help…

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