G20 Recommendations on Global Sustainability Standards

The G20 working group through several deliberations came up with the following recommendations towards establishing global standards on Sustainability that can enable stakeholders with consistent & comparable data for effective decision making:
(Happy to hear views from Forum members on the below)

  1. Need for harmonized taxonomies and standards, as well as consistent data collection and reporting approach and process.
  2. Ensure that standards, KPIs, thresholds and ratings consider applicability, relevance, and
    prioritization of the Global South. This is particularly critical to enable capital allocation
    and investments to be directed to the Global South and address the current significant lack
    of sustainability investment in emerging and developing markets
  3. Include social indicators in standards to incorporate differentiated positions and
    objectives of companies in different countries
  4. Transparency of ratings methodologies to avoid misallocation of investments and to
    ensure alignment with relevant stakeholder priorities
  5. The development of standards and regulations that directly or indirectly apply to global supply and value chains should accommodate the capacities and limitations of Global South
    companies, particularly SMEs. They should also avoid exporting stringent KPIs and targets
    that are not aligned with distinct sustainability (social and environmental) priorities, targets,
    and timelines of developing economies
  6. Set up a new platform or leverage an existing platform for global standard setting, which will be universally recognized

Thank you for sharing these recommendations from the G20 working group, Venkat. Harmonizing standards and metrics is an important step to enable consistent data disclosure and benchmarking across regions.

I agree that the applicability and priorities of the Global South need to be carefully considered in setting KPIs and thresholds. Having flexibility based on local contexts, while still aligning to common frameworks, will be key. Incorporating social indicators is also critical to capture impacts on communities.

Transparency on ratings methodologies is prudent to avoid misallocation of investments and ensure alignment with material issues. Providing accommodations for SMEs and emerging economy companies in standards development is sensible given their capacity constraints. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach with stringent targets would help inclusivity.

Overall, these recommendations seem to address some of the key challenges and tensions in operationalizing global sustainability standards. A new or existing inclusive platform for continued dialogue on standard setting with broad representation would be valuable. I look forward to seeing standards emerge that balance global consistency and comparability with local applicability and focus on enabling sustainable development for all.

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Hi Santi,

Thanks for your comments
After many months, I believe the respective G20 working groups have found harmony
to establish consensus on many issues that’s been deliberated upon this year
The gap between the global south & the global north is narrowing, though a lot has to be done. The road to having common standards & frameworks has more mileage to cover given the fact that countries are facing different sorts of climate issues for which we don’t have
a one size fit all solution that’s universally applicable, hence country specific
standards is how things are progressing.

There would however be minimum standards & frameworks that are globally applicable
& country/region specific elements would be included
The core message is indeed sustainable development for all with broad representation
At the same time there are evolving frameworks/standards that would emerge soon with
adaptations that are industry specific & perhaps customized

With green washing happening at a large scale, the need for better transparency in reporting
would bring in-depth government involvement & possibly call for regulations in this sector

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