When Peter Bakker from the WBCSD declared that corporate social responsibility is dead, he urged us to create new definitions of success. The change to a more holistic approach is already happening. However, shouldn’t we place the shared value that we create at the heart of what we do?
In 13 earlier parts of this series, Claire Sommer and I developed 25 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field, based on the experiences of many mostly non-business fields. (Find them here.)It is tempting to believe objectivity is possible, humans are rational creatures, and decisions should (and could) be based on these. To be a member of such a higher species is reassuring (however much one might question this status on some “Page 1” newspaper days).
Meaningful Brands® – Havas Media Group’s metric of brand strength – is the first global study to show how our quality of life and wellbeing connects with brands at both a human and business level. The study includes 1,000 brands, 300,000 people, 12 industries and 34 countries; and covers the role brands play in our communities and our personal wellbeing, as well as marketplace factors that relate to product performance such as quality and price.
Total greenhouse gas emissions generated in the United States increased by 2 percent from 2012 to 2013, but emission levels in 2013 were 9 percent below 2005 levels, according to a new annual report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).The EPA’s 20th Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks tracks total annual US emissions and removals by source, economic sector and greenhouse gas going back to 1990. The agency uses national energy data, information on national agricultural activities and other national statistics to provide a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the United States.
H&M more than doubled the amount of collected garments with its garment collective initiative in 2014, according to its new sustainability report. In total, more than 13,000 tons of textiles have been collected — as much fabric as in 65 million T-shirts.Now, the apparel company has established a new goal of increasing the amount of products made of recycled fibers by at least 300 percent by the end of 2015.
General Mills made “significant progress” in 2014 toward its commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of its 10 priority ingredients by 2020, according to the company’s annual Global Responsibility Report.It is furthest along towards the goal of sustainably sourcing 100 percent of two raw materials: palm oil (83 percent) and fiber packaging (99 percent).The 10 ingredients represent more than 50 percent of the company’s annual raw material purchases and cover a broad range of raw materials including oats, wheat, corn, dairy, fiber packaging, cocoa, vanilla, palm oil, sugar cane and sugar beets.
The Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) has announced the launch of its Center for Ratings Excellence (CORE) Program — designed to accelerate the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the global financial markets.In 2014, sustainability-oriented assets under management eclipsed $20 trillion, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. These investments are shaped by a growing market for sustainability research and ratings from more than 100 organizations covering more than 50,000 companies on approximately 10,000 performance metrics.
Would you invest in a business that gave you only one figure — number of customers — by which to assess both its current state and future prospects? Of course, not; you would inquire about total sales, costs, revenues, margins, market share, and other figures.Any business decision-maker wants multiple figures. Context, and contextualizing data, is key.
Volvo last year reduced the total lifetime carbon dioxide emissions of its products by 40 million tons against a 2008 baseline, besting its goal by 10 million tons, according to the company’s 2014 sustainability report.The automaker also surpassed its target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its production plants by 0.2 million tons (12 percent), compared to 2008, instead achieving a 20 percent reduction (0.4 million ton) by the end of last year.Other 2014 highlights from Volvo’s report include:
Much of the valuable information that companies communicate to their shareholders about their ESG performance and the social and environmental risks facing the business lie not in the tagged financials nor even in the structured tables and graphs embedded in annual reports, but rather in the paragraphs that flow around the numbers and figures.
Avaya, provider of customer and employee engagement communications technologies, has exceeded its carbon reduction goal two years early by adopting desktop and mobile videoconferencing systems, according to the company’s 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report (PDF).Avaya delivers technology solutions that enable organizations — from mid-market companies to large enterprises — to increase customer and team engagement. It serves some 300,000 customers around the world across a broad range of industries. More than 95 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are Avaya customers.
Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of non-toxic and renewable bio-based household, baby and personal care solutions, called on Congress last week to strengthen the country's outdated chemical policy.
German software company SAP’s operating profit improves EUR35 million ($38 million) to EUR45 million ($49 million) when its employee engagement index rises one percentage point, according to the company’s 2014 integrated report.The financial impact of a higher employee engagement index results, among other things, from the fact that dedicated employees are more innovative and absent from work fewer days. Likewise, because they are more loyal to the company, there is less missed revenue and less recruiting and training costs traditionally associated with higher turnover rates.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is introducing a new feature called ‘fast track’, which will give reporting organizations the option to accelerate the review of their draft reports.GRI is fast approaching the busiest time of year, with reporting deadlines drawing closer. During these peak times, GRI says its Report Services Team processes a large volume of draft reports that have been submitted for either the Content Index, Materiality Disclosures, or Application Level Services. The Term and Conditions of these services lay out a specific amount of time within which GRI will review the draft report and issue findings to the reporting organization.
Any regular follower of SB knows that most companies must transform their business models if they are to start helping - rather than hindering - society's transition to a sustainable future; and this year will only see expectations grow, with the launch of the SDGs.
If ever there was an auspicious moment in performance measurement and reporting, this is surely it. Multicapitalism has arrived! Listen to how author Jane Gleeson-White puts it in her terrific new book, Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet? (2015):
In 11 earlier parts of this series, Claire Sommer and I developed 22 pitfalls in the field of sustainable business metrics, based on the experiences of many mostly non-business fields. (Find them here.)What to make of five anecdotes from the author’s attendance at over a dozen sustainable business metrics conferences, and leading an interagency indicators initiative of New Jersey State Government in 2000-2002 that don’t fit the numbers narrative.
Imagine that you arrive to take your first flying lesson. The instructing pilot asks, “How much fuel do you guess we should put in the tank?” You think: “Guess? Come again? Shouldn’t we calculate the distance between where we are and where we are going, and then determine the fuel needed (and add in some extra fuel for peace of mind)?”Yes. And the same is true for sustainability goals.