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Progressing Towards the SDGs: Understanding and Enhancing the Role of Corporate Transparency in the Big Data Era

Investment decisions play a relevant role in the pursuit of sustainable development and its importance has been increasingly recognized. Given this scenario, investors and other stakeholders expect companies to be more transparent and better informed about their contribution in this sense.

The Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in 2015 by the UN and since then have been taken as reference both for public and private actors, and their incorporation by companies is seen as a high priority. At the same time, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) corporate reporting and analysis practices are nothing new, but they gain new dynamics as more information is publicly available, as well as new technologies for processing, such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Is it a convergence, a collision or something intermediate?

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), in partnership with B3 and FGVces, conducted a series of meetings with experts from different countries and areas of knowledge in order to share experiences and think about the near future of transparency and the instruments for evaluating corporate sustainability.

There were three events in 2018, and here you will have access to the materials presented and produced throughout the process:

Workshop 1 - Advancing  the  SDGs:  Understanding  and  Improving  the  Role  of  Corporate  Transparency

April 19 and 20, 2018 - New York City, USA

Agenda: To discuss the current context on reporting ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), its relevance to the various stakeholders - especially investors - and the specificities of SDG evaluation and reporting. A central question is how and to what extent existing ESG assessment methodologies are compatible with analyzes taking into account the Agenda 2030 and SDGs. There is already a tendency to use the traditional perspective (the ESG aspects) as a reference for the Agenda 2030 / SDGs perspective, especially considering its great coincidence of themes and convergence of purposes. However, there are important differences, which need to be considered and dealt with properly, under penalty of loss of essential aspects of these instruments.
Besides having researchers linked to CCSI / Columbia University, EAESP / FGVces and FEA / USP, the meeting was attended by representatives of large Brazilian companies (B3, BNDES, Braskem, Fibria, Itaú and Petrobras) and members of the SDGs National Commission (Abrinq Foundation and Ethos Institute).
Link to the agenda and presentations of the event
Workshop 2 - Advancing the SDGs: Understanding and Improving the Role of Corporate Transparency through Big Data

July 16 and 17, 2018 - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Agenda: To move forward discussions on how information related to business sustainability (both on ESG and Agenda 2030 / SDGs topics) is currently made available and processed, and to assess the opportunities and challenges brought about by the new technologies (Big Data and Artificial Intelligence). 
Workshop 3 - Progressing Towards the SDGs: Understanding and Enhancing the Role of Corporate Transparency in the Era of Big Data

October 04 and 05, 2018 - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Agenda: Based on the outputs from the first two rounds, the purpose of this meeting will be to propose ways of integrating Big Data and Artificial Intelligence into corporate reporting practices and tools for evaluating corporate sustainability, in order to produce higher quality references for investors and other stakeholders, while facilitating the engagement of companies in these processes, for the best use of the information they already produce.
Workshop - Assessing Corporative Alignment with Agenda 2030 and the SDGs: the experience of ISE B3 – the Brazilian Stock Exchange Sustainability Index

September 26, 2019 - New York City, USA

Agenda: Throughout the world, companies are recognized as fundamental players for advancing UN’s 2030 Agenda and called to help attain its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Corporate leaders and investors are also increasingly convinced that skilled and effective management of material environmental, social, and governance issues benefits financial performance, competitiveness and resilience. In this workshop CCSI, the Emerging Market Global Players’ Project, B3 and invited participants will closely examine the experiences and future strategies of ISE B3, the Brazilian Stock Exchange Sustainability Index, as an important initiative and case study of efforts to evaluate and encourage corporate alignment with the SDGs.