February 1, 2021

ESG: Corporate Heavy Hitters Sign On to Stakeholder Metrics

Last week, the World Economic Forum announced that 61 companies signed-on the organization’s “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics,” a set of ESG metrics and disclosures that measure long-term enterprise value creation for corporate stakeholders. The metrics are intended to serve as “a set of universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and governance that companies can report on, regardless of industry or region.” This excerpt from the WEF’s announcement provides more details:

The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, drawn from existing voluntary standards, offer a core set of 21 universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance that are considered most critical for business, society and the planet, and that companies can report on regardless of industry or region. They strengthen the ability of companies and investors to benchmark progress on sustainability matters, thereby improving decision-making and enhancing transparency and accountability regarding the shared and sustainable value companies create.

The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics document is 97 pages long, and contains plenty of the kind of pious, self-congratulatory corporate gobbledygook you’d expect to find in something like this. However, the core metrics are summarized in a three page chart beginning on page 8 of the document – and a review of that chart should give you a pretty good handle on them.

Companies that have signed on to the core metrics include Dow, Unilever, Nestlé, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Sony & all of the Big 4 accounting firms (which helped develop the metrics). The signatories have committed to reflect the core metrics in their corporate reporting and to publicly support the effort to develop uniform ESG metrics.

We’ve previously blogged about the growing demand among investors and other constituencies for standardized sustainability disclosures, and this announcement represents a milestone in that process. Now, we’ll have to see what these disclosures look like and whether the WEF’s metrics continue to gain traction.

Tomorrow’s Webcast: “Shareholder Proponents Speak: 14a-8 Fallout & Other Initiatives”

Tune in tomorrow for the webcast – “Shareholder Proponents Speak: 14a-8 Fallout & Other Initiatives” – to hear As You Sow’s Andy Behar, Trillium Asset Management’s Jonas Kron,’s Jim McRitchie, and the NYC Comptroller’s Yumi Narita discuss what changes they expect in light of the recent changes to Rule 14a-8 and other initiatives on the horizon.

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John Jenkins