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Need for Greater Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Africa

New York – Covering more than 1,000 international companies with operations in the region, as well as local and regional companies, the Africa Sustainability Barometer gauges the state of corporate sustainability reporting on the continent. A new joint initiative of the United Nations Global Compact and the Financial Times’ This is Africa publication, the Barometer provides the first benchmark for the state of corporate sustainability on the continent.

Corporate reporting on issues of sustainability in Africa remains patchy; the Barometer highlights the need to expand the scope of reporting. For those who understand how sustainability affects their corporate performance, increased reporting and integration of the sustainability agenda looks likely. For companies who operate in a more isolated manner, and for the many smaller companies who are not in the public eye, advocacy work has a long way to go.

Smallholder Barley Project in Ethiopia
Farmers participating in a pilot smallholder barley project conducted by Diageo, in partnership with the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency, to supply the beverage giant’s Meta Abo Brewery. © Diageo / Africa Sustainability Barometer

“With the Africa Sustainability Barometer, we hope to shine a light on the current efforts by companies to report on their sustainability, make the case for the value of comprehensive reporting, and encourage more companies across the continent to commit to responsible practices,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

Covering the scope of corporate sustainability, the Barometer assesses human rights, labour and employment, environment, anti-corruption as well as corporate governance and supply chain management.

The Barometer comes at a time when Africa is attracting unprecedented levels of foreign investment, but faces steep hurdles in improving governance and regulation to ensure that the current wave of capital flowing into the continent is supportive of inclusive and sustainable growth.

“A growing number of investors now include environmental, social and governance (ESG) in their due diligence and risk assessment as important factors in making investment decisions. Companies that have a coherent and effective approach to ESG stand out. As such, sustainability can play an important role in driving investment to the continent, and attracting the long-term capital it needs,” said Lanre Akinola, Editor, This is Africa, Financial Times.

Launched during the UN Private Sector Forum: Africa, held during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013 in New York, the Barometer is intended to be issued annually, and will be a source of information on the changing role of sustainable business as a means to achieve development objectives in Africa. Additionally, it will be a practical tool for practitioners, investors, civil society and Government.


Click here to check/download the Africa Sustainability Barometer.


Source: UN Global Compact.


About This Is Africa

This Is Africa seeks to examine African business and politics in a global context and to make sense of the relationships that Africa is building with the rest of the world. It aims to challenge international preconceptions about the continent and to identify the opportunities and the risks in this dynamic business environment. This Is Africa is part of the Financial Times Ltd. For more information, visit www.thisisafricaonline.com.

About the UN Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With 8,000 corporate signatories in 145 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. For more information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org.