The Group of Friends of Paragraph 47 is a government led initiative that was formed by Brazil, Denmark, France and South Africa, pioneers in sustainability reporting practice and policy.
The Group was born in June 2012 following acknowledgement of the importance of corporate sustainability reporting in Paragraph 47 of the Outcome Document of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
Since then, the Governments of Argentina, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Norway and Switzerland have joined the Group. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) support the group in a Secretariat capacity and provide technical support and guidance in concert with others.
The Group issued their Charter on 7 November 2012, declaring their shared belief that corporate transparency and accountability are key elements of a well-functioning market economy that substantially enhance the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development, and that governments have a primary role to play in this agenda.
In order to create enabling conditions for this, the Group aims to advance the promotion of corporate sustainability reporting by:
- Developing and exchanging best practice models for policy and guidance in this area, building on existing and widely used sustainability reporting frameworks;
- Inviting governments from other nations to join them in expanding on the ideas and experiences contributing to their core work and providing a channel for relevant engagement;
- Engaging with relevant stakeholders to incorporate input relating to reporting standards, tools, research, and capacity building for transfer of knowledge and information to developing countries;
- Serving as a coordinating point for the collection of information on relevant policy and regulation through general research, the use of surveys and reaching out to a steadily growing network;
- Commissioning technical publications to explore possible gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed; and
- Leading by example by continuing to improve policy and regulation on corporate sustainability reporting within the Group Members’ own countries.
A range of stakeholders will be consulted, including providers of sustainability information (companies), users of sustainability data (investors, stock exchanges, employees), reporting standard providers, UN agencies and civil society groups including trade unions.