The Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD)

What is the FBSD?

Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD) is a joint initiative by FBN & the UN to advance the sustainability practices of family businesses, enable system change and create a shared prosperity for all.

What does the FBSD hope to achieve?

The world needs to promote values-based business models that focus on the long-term and family businesses are well positioned to lead this endeavour. Through shared learning, customised tools and innovative platforms, the FBSD aims to:

  • Enable purpose-driven family businesses to be inclusive and deliver for all stakeholders – workers, communities, the environment and future generations
  • Build resilient family businesses that are transparent and future proof
  • Through partnerships, influence the eco-system, drive systems change and enable all businesses to be a force for good
What are the key deliverables?
  • A joint FBN-UN Family Business Pledge with a call to action to Define Success Across Generations
  • A set of sustainability indicators customised for family businesses to enable them to measure and track their progress. The Sustainability Indicators for Family Business (SIFB) are aligned with the SDGs – a universal framework for driving systems change
  • Capacity development programs to accelerate sustainability practises for family businesses
  • Global multi-stakeholder platforms for dialogue, shared-learning and advocacy

The Family Business Pledge

What is the pledge?
Who can sign the pledge?
All members of the family business ecosystem are invited to sign the pledge and demonstrate their commitment to promote a more purpose-driven model of business.
How do we sign the pledge?

The FBSD website includes a feature to enable family business members to sign the pledge online. Signatories will be authenticated by UNCTAD and posted shortly thereafter. If you have questions, please contact your local FBN association.

What is my commitment after I sign the pledge?
All pledge signatories are invited to voluntarily measure and track their sustainability progress using a set of family business indicators jointly developed by FBN and UNCTAD.

The Sustainability Indicators for Family Business (SIFB)

What are the indicators?

The Sustainability Indicators for Family Business are jointly developed by UNCTAD and FBN and build on the SDG Reporting Guidance on Core Indicators developed by UNCTAD. The family business indicators emphasize the importance of responsible ownership, independent directors and the role of next generation leadership. There are approximately 40 indicators mapped to 10 different SDGs.

How can I take the indicators?

The draft SIFB is currently being tested by a pilot group of family business and more information can be found here.. Businesses wishing to test the reporting indicators, may download the FBSI and commence their own internal progress. To facilitate more family business taking the SIFB, UNCTAD is building a secure and robust online platform which is scheduled to go live in October 2020.

How will my family business benefit by taking the SIFB?
Family Businesses taking the SIFB will be able to to identify areas of action, measure and track their progress on key ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) metrics that are aligned to the SDGs. Reporting on these indicators highlight potential areas of risk and opportunity and foster transparency.
How will the information from the SIFB online platform be used?
The FBSI metric sets represent minimum disclosures that companies need to provide to enable governments to evaluate and recognise the contribution of the private sector to the implementation of the SDGs. Hence it is anticipated that the responses will help inform relevant stakeholders of the contributions of family businesses to the SDGs. Please note that the family business information from the platform will be anonymised and aggregated. Individual responses will not be shared unless specifically authorized by the participating family business.

The SDGs

What are the SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Today, progress is being made, but, action to meet the Goals is not advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030.
Why are we using the SDGs as a framework?
The SDGs have been ratified by 193 member states and offer a common language for driving change. Defining the role of business to embrace all stakeholders requires a shared universal vision as embodied by the SDGs. While not yet a household name in every chapter and business, no other framework or approach defines the world’s chosen destination in 2030 so comprehensively or with so much public ownership.

The Partnership

About Family Business Network
The Family Business Network is the world’s leading family business organisation. Founded in 1989, it is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. A vibrant community of enterprising business owners, it brings together over 4,000 family from across 65 countries. To enable members to more effectively deliver value for all of their stakeholders and create a shared prosperity, FBN developed Polaris. Launched in 2014, Polaris is FBN’s framework to deliver on the Family Business Pledge and a growing global movement of business families focused on maximising positive economic, environmental and societal impact. Polaris enables learning, innovation and co- creation to redefine success across generations.
UNCTAD is the United Nations body responsible for economic and sustainable development issues with a focus on trade, finance, investment and technology. UNCTAD undertakes research and policy analysis on key and emerging issues, builds intergovernmental consensus among 194 member states, and assists countries to enhance the capacities for equitable integration into the global economy and improvement of the well-being of their peoples. UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise is a centre of excellence in the area of investment and enterprise development and has been taking the lead in policy research and technical assistance at multilateral, regional and national levels. It organizes the bi-annual World Investment Forum, the pre-eminent global platform for the investment development community.