Index Initiative’s Process

In 2015 we conducted the landscape study ‘Unraveling the Role of the Private Sector’ which identified for 15 global industries how they can contribute to achieving the SDGs. Five industries were selected for a full feasibility study as their contribution to the SDGs was considered unique, actionable and significant. Throughout 2015 and 2016, we assessed the feasibility of developing indices ranking agricultural commodity traders, mobile operators, oil and gas companies, and chemical companies. Following a one-year period of extensive research and stakeholder consultations, we concluded there is a strong case for developing four new benchmarks.

Seafood Stewardship

The Seafood Stewardship Index focuses on the stewardship of natural resources and supply chains by leading seafood companies. Seafood, both from wild and farmed sources, is the most valuable food commodity in the world and is important to global food security and livelihoods. However, many fish stocks are overexploited and poorly managed, creating significant sustainability risks. Furthermore, seafood supply chains have been linked to human rights abuses and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Seafood companies have an important role in ensuring they do not undermine the functioning of the ecosystems they rely upon and responsible sourcing of products.

Sustainable Agricultural Commodities

This potential benchmark focuses on the role of leading agricultural commodity traders in helping (smallholder) farmers in the tropics to improve their livelihoods and minimize their impact on ecosystems. Agricultural commodity traders form a highly concentrated segment of the food value chain and play a key role in connecting millions of farmers to international markets. The extent of their supply chains, market shares and the number of farmers involved suggests the impact of agricultural commodity traders is substantial. However, the actual contribution of traders in addressing issues related to livelihoods and preserving ecosystems remains unclear. This benchmark can bring more clarity on the role and actual contribution of traders to sustainable development.

Access to Internet

Despite the fact that the internet has become a critical enabler for development, over half of the world’s population does not have access. Mobile phones provide the main form of Internet access in developing countries due to the lack of fixed infrastructure. Mobile operators have a key position in the Internet ecosystem as providers of last-mile connectivity, particularly outside densely populated urban areas, and therefore have an important role in bridging the digital divide. Stimulating ecosystem players, including mobile operators, to provide access for all can spur advancement in critical areas such as agriculture, health, education, gender equality and access to financial services.

Corporate Climate Action

We work on the creation of a corporate climate action benchmark. This benchmark is a priority issue in light of both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Corporate climate action works as a double edged sword, it is pivotal in fighting climate change but also for the creation of a green economy and jobs. The focus is on companies of several relevant high emitting industries like energy companies and industries with high emissions caused by high energy consumption and/or their industrial production process. Examples of such industries are oil and gas companies, utilities, automotive industry, chemicals, dairy and meat.