Its purpose is to provide general information, a “snap-shot” of the landscape and a perspective from a think-tank/professional association focused on this topic.

This pack provides a briefing on a group of leading standards. It highlights:

Latest hot topics in relation to each standard.
The ensuing strategic challenges facing companies arising from the standard-setters or the market and possible actions they could take in response.
A factsheet detailing origin, purpose, operationalization, rigor of obligation, and users etc.

How can a company best make strategic choices in the selection and use of leading corporate responsibility codes, standards and frameworks? What are the implications, now and in the near future, of complying with these voluntary or regulatory initiatives? How does a company determine whether or not alignment (or “signing-up”) will bring business value?

To answer these questions, this report was prepared by AccountAbility for the WBCSD ‘Accountability and Reporting Working Group’. This publication is part of a broader learning module designed by the WBCSD and serves to inform and
stimulate discussion rather than advocate any particular course of specific action.

A small number of codes, standards and frameworks were selected for review. This sample group was not intended to be exhaustive, but to offer a spread across the different types of codes, standards and frameworks in terms of how they work and what themes they cover, which are currently being used by companies.

List of codes detailed in this report:

Global Compact
UN Human Rights Norms for Business
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines
AA1000 Assurance Standard
Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes
Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

AccountAbility as authors of this report are responsible for all views expressed here. The WBCSD will continue to explore these issues and facilitate a discussion around these challenges.