The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) recently launched the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential, the first of two exams that explore concepts on the materiality of sustainability information. The FSA is designed for a wide range of professionals who benefit from understanding the link between material sustainability information and a company’s financial performance, including financial and sustainability reporting teams, investors, consultants and securities lawyers.
In 17 earlier parts of this series, Claire Sommer, Jill Lipoti and I developed 34 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field, based on the experiences of many mostly non-business fields. (Find them here.)
Construction machinery and equipment giant Caterpillar recently hosted the first major national summit on infrastructure restoration, with the clarion call that investing in nature is smart business. As a major player in the manufacturing industry, Caterpillar reached the conclusion that moving beyond technical principles and establishing a broad coalition of stakeholders is required to bring the restoration conversation mainstream.
Between 470 to 760 million people could lose their homes to rising sea levels if carbon emissions meet or exceed 4°C of warming — the direction in which business-as-usual is heading — with unstoppable rises to occur over centuries, according to a new report and searchable interactive maps published by Climate Central.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making, according to a new study, as reported by ThinkProgress.These impacts have been observed at carbon dioxide levels that most Americans are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes and cars.
Microsoft has, as of July 1, 2015, achieved carbon neutrality across its manufacturing operations, according to the company’s 2015 Citizenship Report.The software company’s data centers, software development labs, offices and business air travel have been carbon neutral since July 2012.Microsoft was able to achieve carbon neutrality across its global operations due to its internal carbon fee. The program puts a price on carbon and makes the company’s business divisions responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for the carbon emissions associated with their electricity use and air travel.
Sustainability has long been seen as a soft issue — or at least too complex an issue to apply metrics. That is yesterday’s thinking as reaffirmed by all the speakers this week at New Metrics ’15. On the final day, in the second round of plenaries, Biogen, Johnson & Johnson, SASB and TruValue Labs shared their experience and learnings from establishing metrics and setting standards within their respective industries and a few common themes came to the fore.
The final morning’s plenaries at New Metrics ‘15 started with a warm welcome and call from MC Paul Herman of HIP Investor to be energized and ready to focus in on sustainability investing.Herman started with a reminder that 84 percent of the market value of the S&P is intangible and completely missing from the balance sheet. Connecting returns to business efforts around sustainability efforts and performance is a door to finding this value. These absent “knowable but ignored factors” include people as an asset, natural resource efficiency; governance, board diversity and inclusion; and transparency.
Back in the ballroom for the last afternoon of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’15, SustainAbility’s research director Chris Guenther hosted a discussion on the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), what they mean for brands, and how they can respond to the risks and opportunities. He was joined by Alyson Genovese, US and Canada head of corporate and stakeholder relations for Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Lindsay Bass, manager of corporate water stewardship for World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The green bond market is growing exponentially, having seen $36 billion issued in 2015 from only $11billion issued in 2013. It remains a fledgling market, yet with continued investor demand and issuers embracing a ‘new green market,’ the future looks bright – according to a panel on the final afternoon at New Metrics ’15.
As representatives from Walt Disney, Lockheed Martin and Campbell’s Soup attested on Wednesday morning at New Metrics ’15, well-run corporate sustainability programs bring multiple benefits, including increased sales, growing market value, higher employee productivity, and reduced risk exposure, among others.
New Leaf Paper founder Jeff Mendelsohn hosted a workshop on day one of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’15 about an improved Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework that helps users make better decisions by incorporating current climate science impacts, as well as greater transparency and comparability. The framework is called LEO-SCS-002 and is in the process of being added to current LCA standards.
Clearly, with an exploding population, rapidly accelerating fossil fuel-based consumption and climate catastrophe all looming, the current “net negative” state – whereby we extract more than we return – needs to change. The radically opposite concept – giving more than taking – is ideal.
The divestment/investment movement calls on institutional, family, and individual investors to hold themselves accountable for the impacts of financial investments. By moving their money, individuals and institutions can revoke the license of fossil-fuel firms to operate, and doing so accelerates the transition of our global economy away from coal, oil, and gas to sun, wind, and water.
“No country can get ahead if it leaves what amounts to half the population behind.”
This quote from the McKinsey report, Economic Benefit of Gender Equality, provided a soft opening to a session focused on the data and facts pointing to the benefits of gender diversity in business.
How do you make a problem you can’t see important? This is a big theme across all the breakouts at New Metrics ’15 this week — the importance of finding the accurate and appropriate measurement tools for the challenges that face us.In a session titled “Practical Tools for Evaluating and Reporting Water Use,” the panel discussed the challenge of putting a tangible value to an intangible problem — water management.
The main-stage program of New Metrics ’15 kicked off Wednesday with a simple, yet powerful reminder: This set of conversations is all about upside potential, smarter risk management and long-term resilience. Our focus this week — New Metrics — are metrics that allow business leaders to quantify previously ignored ESG impacts, or capture entirely new forms of business value based on new opportunities along those dimensions.