UN, World Bank lead initiative to standardise measurement of environmental impacts

ZURICH (REUTERS) – Major multilateral organisations will launch a new initiative next week aimed at developing a system of standards for companies, investors and financial institutions to measure their impact on global sustainability.

The new Impact Management Platform is founded by organisations including four UN agencies, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.

Regulators and multilateral agencies are looking at ways to replace a patchwork of voluntary social and environmental disclosure rules, aiming to tackle “greenwashing” by organisations eager to present themselves as ethical.

IOSCO, the global umbrella body for securities regulators, has helped set up the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which was unveiled at the UN’s COP26 global climate summit in Scotland earlier this month.

The founders of the Impact Management Platform said they aimed to go beyond a risks and returns model, in which organisations determine and disclose information that could affect near-term financial performance, and take a broader view of how their activities affect society and the planet.

“Increasingly, investors and other actors in the financial system and corporates are going to be expected to be able to have a better understanding of the impact they have on their customers and through their financing,” Mr Eric Usher, head of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative, told Reuters.

“It includes looking at the whole process of how to improve impacts, (not just) disclosure,” Ms Romina Boarini, Director of the OECD’s Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity, added.

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