Communication on Progress: Pilot Study
The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest global corporate sustainability initiative. The participating companies of the United Nations Global Compact are required to submit annual Communication on Progress report that outlines company's efforts in its sustainability journey.
In 2023, the UN Global Compact will be launching a new Communication on Progress reporting system, which will create more transparency on companies' efforts to operate responsibly. The new platform will enable participating companies to understand, measure, track and disclose their progress on the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact (Labor, Human Rights, Environment and Anti-corruption) and contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
The new Communication on Progress will result in improved data that drives sustainability progress and enables participating companies to:
1. Build credibility and brand value by showing their commitment to the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals.
2. Measure and demonstrate progress to stakeholders on the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals, in a consistent way.
3. Receive insight, learn and continuously improve performance by identifying gaps, accessing guidance and setting sustainability goals.
4. Compare progress against competitors with access to one of the largest sources of free and comparable corporate sustainability data.
The platform design needs to follow the United Nations Global Compact branding. Although the key goal is to launch the new system, the look of the questionnaire cannot deviate too much from the existing Communication on Progress and other UN Global Compact reporting systems and dashboards.
In an effort to streamline and add value to the Communication on Progress annual report, 1000 early adopter companies were invited to participate in the pilot. Participating companies had two months to submit their Communication on Progress report in the new system, provide feedback on the questionnaire, test digital platform throughout the submission process, and attend informal sessions to provide any feedback on the process.
The Communication on Progress questionnaire draws from existing sustainability reports and standards. The early version of the questions was drafted based on these standards and stakeholder input. The final questionnaire was developed in consultation with UN partners and select stakeholders such as businesses, investors, civil society organizations and reporting framework agencies.
Questionnaire development & resources:
The agile system was built and shared with the participating companies. Participants were then asked to share their feedback on the system. The next step will be to incorporate user feedback and launch the system for all participating companies of the UN Global Compact.