Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation 


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our global systems. Leaders in every sector – government, business, civil society – find themselves at a defining crossroads, and realised that it is vital to mobilise all constituencies of our global society to work together and seize this historic opportunity to rebalance our world for the benefit of all.

Spearheading a commitment from more than 140 CEOs to align their corporate values and strategies with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2017, the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council (IBC) has been leading the way in this initiative to deliver on the promise of stakeholder capitalism. Flagging the existence of multiple ESG reporting frameworks and standard-setters – the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and identifying the lack of consistency and comparability of metrics as pain points preventing companies from credibly demonstrating to all stakeholders their progress on sustainability and their contributions to the SDGs in a harmonised manner nowadays, IBC, in collaboration with the Big Four Accounting Firms, have been exploring a set of universal, material ESG metrics and recommended disclosures that could be reflected in the mainstream annual reports of companies on a consistent basis across industry sectors and countries.

The results present 21 core and 34 expanded metrics and disclosures under four pillars that are aligned with the SDGs and principal ESG domains: Principles of Governance, Planet, People and Prosperity.

  • Core metrics: A set of 21 more‑established or critically important metrics and disclosures. These are primarily quantitative metrics for which information is already being reported by many firms (albeit often in different formats) or can be obtained with reasonable effort. They focus primarily on activities within an organisation’s own boundaries.
  • Expanded metrics: A set of 34 metrics and disclosures that tend to be less well‑established in existing practice and standards and have a wider value chain scope or convey impact in a more sophisticated or tangible way, such as in monetary terms. They represent a more advanced way of measuring and communicating sustainable value creation.

Recommended disclosures

Principal ESG domains

Principles of Governance


  • Governing purpose
  • Quality of governing body
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Risk and opportunity oversight

Core metrics & disclosures

  • Setting purpose
  • Governance body composition
  • Material issues impacting stakeholders
  • Anti-corruption
  • Protected ethics advice and reporting mechanisms
  • Integrating risk and opportunity into business process

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