Regulatory Compliance

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Global challenges such as climate change and the issues that come with it  the imperative for businesses to embrace sustainable practices have never been greater.

Comprising over 200 leading companies from across the globe, the WBCSD is a powerful platform for driving collective action during uncertain times. From pioneering innovative solutions to advocating for policy change, the WBCSD plays a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future for businesses and communities worldwide. 

What is the World Business Council for Sustainable Development?

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development - also known WBCSD-  is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. 

The WBCSD helps make its member companies more successful and sustainable by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment, and societies. The WBCSD operates across several major work programs, including but not limited to:

  • Climate and energy
  • Materials
  • Cities and mobility 
  • Water and food

The WBCSD provides a platform for these companies to collaborate and share knowledge, experiences, and tools to develop sustainable business strategies and solutions - for example, by navigating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through responsible business practices.

Why was it created?

The WBCSD was created to catalyse business action towards sustainability, leveraging the power of its member companies to make a positive impact on global challenges. The founding of the WBCSD was motivated by several key reasons:

  • Growing awareness of sustainability issues
  • Need for a unified voice across businesses
  • To promote sustainable business practices

The formation of the WBCSD was directly influenced by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. 

Creation of GHG protocol

Since its launch, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol has become the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. It was developed through a partnership between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). 

The development of the GHG Protocol was motivated by the need for a consistent and reliable way for businesses and organisations to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating the global effort to combat climate change. The GHG protocol is largely concerned with what it has categorsied into 3 types of scoped emissions:

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, such as fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, or vehicles.
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, like electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by the reporting company.
  • Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions, like those from the production of purchased materials or waste disposal.

Learn more about the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol

Benefits and responsibilities of membership to WBCSD

Companies join the WBCSD to collaborate on sustainability challenges, leveraging a global network to share insights, drive innovation, and develop sustainable business strategies. 

This partnership enables them to enhance their sustainability performance, influence global policy, and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Comparable to the influence of the WBCSD, membership of the organisation comes with several useful benefits and further responsibilities, which can lead to long-term business success. Some benefits include: 

  • Access to knowledge and resources - Members can access cutting edge research, tools and best practice guidelines to help stay ahead of major trends within the field of sustainability.
  • Networking and collaboration - Membership offers opportunities for networking and collaboration with businesses, governments and NGOs to amplify cutting edge innovative and creative partnerships. 
  • Credibility - Association with WBCSD can vastly improve brands image and reputation in the eyes of investors, stakeholder and customers by evidencing credibility as a responsible organisation committed to a greener future.
  • Risk management - member organisations have an opportunity to better understand and address sustainability-related risks, such as climate change or resource scarcity, and build resilience and adaptability to rapidly changing market conditions.

Responsibilities of membership to WBCSD

Active engagement and adherence to the council's principles allow member companies to stay at the forefront of sustainability innovation, influencing positive change and driving the global agenda towards a more sustainable and equitable future. Without doing so, the goals of the WBCSD would be difficult to achieve. Broadly, the responsibilities of this memberships entails: 

Commitment to sustainability

Members must demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability and integrate sustainability principles into their operations, and decision-making processes.

Active participation

Members are encouraged to actively participate in WBCSD activities.  This includes working groups, task forces and events as well as sharing knowledge and best practices. 

Transparency and accountability

Members are expected to be transparent about their sustainability performance and to report regularly on their progress towards sustainability goals.

Continuous improvement

Members must set ambitious goals, implement effective strategies, and monitor results to consistently drive positive change over time. With this, it’s important that member organisations aren’t just setting toargets, but are actively taking steps towards implementation.


Members must demonstrate leadership and a willingness to take bold action on sustainability issues, both within their own organisations and in the broader business community.

Any organisation is able to join the WBCSD - they operate an open membership policy, in which they state: 

Becoming a WBCSD member means joining a community dedicated to sustainable transformation. Our exclusive membership, vetted by our Executive Committee, offers the platform to influence, innovate, and thrive in an ever-changing global landscape. We’re not just building a sustainable future; we're shaping a world where businesses prosper by positively impacting society.

Becoming a member of the WBCSD may not be suited to all organisations - but that’s not to say that they can’t still abide by the responsibilities in an effort to ensure that they are having a positive impact in global efforts to mitigate their carbon output. One way of doing this is to invest in an emissions data platform. 

How Minimum can help

Minimum can help organizations to understand their existing carbon output, and create plans to mitigate climate related risks in the future.  Our Emissions Data Platform seamlessly collects and processes emissions data from every corner of your organization and supply chain - no matter the format. Making it the ideal platform for emissions audits and all-round business intelligence. 

Learn more about how Minimum's Emission Data Platform can help to power you all the way to Net Zero today.