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UK mechanisms touching on sustainable development are generally based on, and have as their over-arching objective, some variation of the so-called “Brundtland definition”. These mechanisms also widely reference the three interconnected ‘pillars’ of sustainable development, also known as the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainable development. The UK approach has a bearing on all SDGs and in particular, SDGs 9, 10 and 13.
Heightened emphasis on transparency and accountability through corporate governance and disclosure has renewed the focus on the ‘triple bottom line’—environmental, social and economic impacts. Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) reporting generally measures the sustainability and ethical performance of a company. There is increasing interest in the ESG performance of companies by various stakeholders. A range of mechanisms exist to shape CSR and foment voluntary reporting by companies on their ESG performance. Adhering to one such framework heightens credibility, and a proactive approach to sustainability presents opportunities while ensuring a company’s preparedness to embrace evolving legal requirements.
The Consolidated Versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the Eu-ropean Union (the EU Treaties) set out the constitutional framework for the EU. The Treaties do not attempt to define sustainable development or impose an EU-wide adoption of a common definition. This practice note sets out the approach to sustainable development at the EU institutional level. This has an impact on all SDGs but in particular, SDGs 9, 10 and 13.