With the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and inclusion of the private sector for the first time as a key contributor to the goals, it is important to track corporate contributions towards the 2030 target. Most corporate sustainability data is currently behind paywalls or difficult to access. This program focuses on looking in depth into company sustainability and annual reports to extract data in a structured, comparable format, so that communities and institutions can better understand corporate impacts and feed into improvements.
WikiRate has developed collective research projects with universities to create more information in the public domain on how companies impact achievement of the SDGs. Professors around the world are embedding WikiRate into classroom projects to facilitate experiential learning in real-world, practical research, inputting and analyzing organizational data. To date more than 3,000 students and 14 universities have taken part in this program and collected nearly 50,000 data points.
We support academic institutions to research company performance on the SDGs. Because of the wide span of the SDGs, we set-up crowd-research projects that collect data on diverse topics from greenhouse gas emissions to gender equality to working conditions.
- We have more than 70 metrics on WikiRate that are linked to indicators mapped to the SDGs. These include standards providers such as Global Reporting Initiative and Poverty Footprint
- Research groups are able to choose what kind of data they want to collect. Our project structure allows them to focus in on specific SDG topics, industries and/or geographic areas
- Participating universities embed these projects into their curriculum to give students a chance to learn about SDG reporting practices and open data whilst taking part in a global data collection drive
The scope of the SDGs, as well as the high number of companies that now report on ESG issues, means that this program is highly scalable. We have already collected nearly 50,000 data points on more than 750 companies from across the world and anticipate doubling this number over the next two years.
In addition to raw data collection, students are beginning to utilize analysis tools developed by WikiRate to assess data using Calculated Metrics. These metrics are able to combine the granular data to make more meaningful conclusions. Calculations are also dynamic and update in real-time as more research is added to the platform, scaling the usability of the raw data. Through calculated metrics we can, for instance, find out the overall disclosure level of a company or calculate a company's gender pay gap.
This research has potential to connect citizen-generated insights to policy-makers in a useful format and according to relevant country priorities. Going forward, the ambition is to attract resources to scale in size, reach and learning outcomes, empowering individuals to contribute to a large-scale, actionable research.
“Business must be part of the solution to the world’s sustainability challenges. To do that, today’s business students must learn these skills so they may tackle the challenges as future managers and executives. It is my hope that the ‘Business Contribution to the SDGs – A Student Assessment’ project grows to become a crucial way for the international community to see the contribution of business to achieving the SDGs, while providing students with key insights into how to engage a sustainable business.”
– Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact
“I am sincerely surprised with how much I engaged with corporate social responsibility. I believed that business and the environmental impacts would always be a clashing force, but it was quite interesting to see that social accounting also takes into consideration social issues like wellbeing and gender equality. It is refreshing to see how sustainability is impacting business behaviour, and perhaps this project may prove beneficial in that future businesswomen and businessmen will learn to see sustainability as an essential criterion for operating a business."
– Anonymous student, University of Wollongong