UN Sustainable Development Performance Indicators
Authentic Sustainability Reporting Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Performance Indicators
On 1 November 2022, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) released the Sustainable Development Performance Indicators (SDPIs) in what Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Co-Founder Allen White called a “Brundtland Moment”. The SDPIs, released in a Manual entitled Authentic Sustainability Assessment, received significant attention (BSR: “a major inflection point”; THRIVE Institute: “sustainability history in the making”), especially in light of the releases of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Standards and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), which are either legally binding for organizations in different jurisdictions or required by investors.
Why SDPI? And what’s the benefit of SDPI vis-à-vis other legally binding reporting requirements?
Despite improvements in sustainability measurement and disclosure over several decades, current indicators, methodologies and reporting models still fail to provide an adequate basis for assessing impacts related to socio-economic, governance and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Several blind spots that render sustainability reporting ineffective also need to be addressed to create meaningful assessments. Reporting overload and an excessive number of indicators are problematic as well. Furthermore, as current frameworks and indicators are mainly oriented toward for-profit entities, sustainability reporting often bypasses entities, such as those in the social and solidarity economy, that pursue social and environmental goals and not just economic ones. The existing reporting standards of GRI, ISSB and ESRS won’t solve these problems, and even arguably worsen them in aggregate. They therefore need to be seen in contrast to what SDPI can achieve.
In short: do you want to spend time on continued incrementalist approaches or are you interested in finally being able to measure and report in more authentic terms whether your organization’s performance is actually sustainable? And how can use of the SDPIs help to fulfil the requirements of other ESG-based standards? How can your measurement and reporting be simpler and more meaningful? How can you use an ‘SDPI Scorecard for hard context indicators’ in order to measure and report performance in more authentic and integrated terms? This is the focus of this training.
Training on Authentic Sustainability Reporting
The online training is organised in 4 modules of 90 minutes each on two consecutive days, with a 30-minute break between the two modules each day. Here are the modules:
- Module 1: Introduction to the SDPIs; Environmental & Institutional Hard Context Indicators
- Module 2: Socio-Economic Hard Context Indicators
- Module 3: Deep Dive into Context-Based Materiality
- Module 4: Meta-comparison of SDPI to GRI, ESRS & ISSB for simplifying reporting; Remaining Tier II SDPI Indicators.
Dates and Fees
r3.0 and CSO will initially be offering this online training on
- 28/29 June from 1500 to 1830 CEST
In-Person Training (please register with the separate link):
- Oslo, Norway: 2 One-Day Trainings on 5th and 6th of June 2023 each from 0900 to 1700 CEST, register here
The fee for this two half-day training is 995 €. Registration is possible through credit card payment or iDeal using the Mollie payment system. You will automatically receive a payment and registration confirmation. Please choose the right date!
Our payment system Mollie requires a 3-D-Authentification to finalise your payment. Please make sure to do this within 30 minutes, otherwise your registration expires. In that case you have not successfully subscribed to the training.
Please note: Not-For-Profit or Academic participants from the Global South / Global Majority as well as r3.0 Advocation Partners can receive a 50% discount. Please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in the discount, mentioning your last- and first name, country and Company/Organisation. The reduced price will be visible in the payment step (not in the form below).
UN-SDPI Training Brochure
Testimonials from earlier participants
Imagine being able to hang out with leading luminaries for an intimate learning experience and ask them exactly how they pushed the learning edges of the field. In this course, you get to have those conversations. You’ll get numerous revelations about the movement to amplify organizational systems thinking and reporting, helping you to develop a vivid sense of where learning and implementation frontiers are. The content is fantastic.
There is a jungle of frameworks and heaps of measurements (e.g. have a look at the long list of #GRI), and more are on their way. But are they helping us understand sustainable actions on a tangible level? I argue that the best tool available is the UNSDPI (UN Sustainable Development Performance Indicators).
The tenor of today’s presentation has been excellent. Inclusive. Kudos to Mark, Bill, Ralph and the r3.0 team on the depth, clarity and scope of today’s session. Excellent content with the methodology and its applicability clearly apparent.
I give this course my highest recommendation and encourage all serious-minded sustainability professionals to participate in the future courses.
If you are a big or a small company, an #investor, #familyoffice or just someone interested in making a #positiveimpact on climate, carbon and the broader S and G sustainability issues, I recommend quickly booking the r3.0 & Center for Sustainable Organizations training. Over the next decade, this is the way we will measure and report the sustainability performance of a company, asset or portfolio. Demand for this training will go through the roof. For me, it is the most significant contribution of any entity proposing standards, frameworks etc., for sustainable reporting and finance.
Bill, Mark and Ralph delivered the UNSDPI training very professionally. The materials serve as a helpful reference to signpost learning already conquered or yet to be embraced. Q&A in the chat stream were invited and embraced throughout the four modules. The talent in the room speaks to the significance of the training. Well done to r3.0 and CSO for the milestones met and obstacles overcome to integrate context-based sustainability into the UN SDPIs.
Highly recommended training. Organizations concerned with sustainability are now offered a practice which cuts to the chase. Practical, workable indicators and template. This alternative is clearly the new no.1 sustainability approach for companies, adds greatly to the necessary conscience and offers an important missing piece for broader societal challenge. Necessary innovation demands proper valuation, while complexity is a huge issue for system (innovation) approaches. I do see the simplicity of the SDPIs as offering something special. It will help nudge a variety of/deeper analytics, in different analytical weight categories at different levels of scale.
I found UNSDPI to be the most comprehensive framework currently available for companies and organisations who are sincere about transforming business-as-usual. The UNSDPIs are the antidote to both SDG-washing and greenwashing and provide a way out of endless incrementalism and enable real action on sustainability transformation.
The Sustainable Development Performance Indicators (SDPI) constitute an advance in sustainability performance measurement — and ultimately reporting — in that their methodology in essence normalizes performance measures using context-based materiality factors. This results in measures that readily indicate whether a company is performing sustainably relative to an established desirable or target threshold that is context-specific. It facilitates assessing performance on a number of critical issues by enabling users to determine which companies are behaving sustainably and which are not. This is definitely the direction of travel in driving companies to truly integrate sustainability into their business model and strategy.
The training offered by r3.0 and CSO, the SDPI’s co-creators, not only provides the fundamentals of context-based sustainability and materiality assessment as well as the new indicators, but also demonstrates how to apply them using an integrated reporting scorecard and compares the SDPI to other sustainability reporting frameworks. It was full of precise, contextually sound insights that only world-class professionals could provide and was enriched by questions and contributions from other participants, as well as a deep sense of ‘presencing’ from all involved. It was clear that Bill Baue, Ralph Thurm and Mark W. McElroy, PhD were 100% committed to knowledge transfer, and that is simply invaluable. I highly recommend it to all interested in doing authentic sustainability, which I expect will become the norm for all organizations – hopefully very soon.
The launch of the UNSDPIs – a first-of-its-kind, UN-backed sustainability reporting instrument that incorporates 16 context-based performance indicators and further transformative disclosures – is a true pivotal moment in sustainability reporting. Sadly, the most widely adopted GRI standards, the ESRS newly mandatory in the EU, as well as the ubiquitous SDGs, are all laden in incrementalism – they are not helping us create a system that thrives within planetary boundaries while granting all fellow citizens of the world the dignity of respecting all social foundations (thriving within our means, not at someone else’s cost). Context-based sustainability is a viable and necessary science-aligned alternative, and thanks to the SDPI’s advent is now actionable for companies. The UNSDPI training delivered familiarization with foundational concepts of science-aligned sustainability; understanding of the crux of novel, context-based SDPI indicators; enrichment with explanations on context-based materiality assessment; and a demonstration of how to apply the indicators using an integrated reporting scorecard (allowing for aggregation into a big picture). It also provided the opportunity to engage directly with and questions to the UNSDPI’s co-creators, – as well as to broaden one’s horizons through critical questions asked by fellow participants from diverse backgrounds and with varying roles in non-financial disclosures and performance management.
The UNSPDIs will be most useful to me in framing and articulating what a sustainable business looks like, and as I am responsible for regulatory and investor reporting, helping to draw the distinction between the actions we take as a responsible business and what we would actually need to do to be truly sustainable. It’s an uphill battle to close that gap, but tools like this make it easier. To that end, I will also be diving into the treasure trove that is your r3.0 website!
Bill Baue, Mark McElroy, and Ralph Thurm: I can’t believe the extent to which the three of you opened my eyes to authentic sustainability performance. The deep dives and the extensive conversation with Q&A was excellent. I wanted to keep going! Great work. Thank you!
Why care about the UN SDPIs? Because they embody (1) context is king, (2) science matters, (3) effectiveness rules. It’s time to get real about sustainability reporting and take it for what it is: a means to steer organizations toward true sustainability. Not a box-ticking excercise to win awards for incremental progress with no impact. Why this training? Because you (1) directly interact with top authorities in the fields of sustainability standard setting, (2) receive condensed information and a wealth of further curated reading, (3) are inspired to critically reflect the sustainability reporting space and your place in it. Recommended!
In my quest to acquire the most comprehensive knowledge in sustainability reporting and accounting, I sought more than just getting a certification. I aspired for something that aligned with the highest scientific and ethical standards. Fortunately, I discovered just that in the UNSDPI Training of r3.0 and CSO, and much more in the way the training was provided by Ralph, Bill, and Mark. Their unwavering dedication to revolutionizing the current state of the sustainability reporting landscape is truly inspiring, as well as the group of professionals I trained alongside with. After two days of intensive training and Q&A, I am more confident than ever in my ability to apply my skillset to serve the planet and its inhabitants.