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.
Whirlpool has announced that nine of its cooking appliances are among the industry’s first certified under the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) Sustainability Standard for Cooking Products — the first voluntary sustainability standard for household cooking products, developed by AHAM, UL Environment and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group.
In September, a Roundtable of companies comprised of Ahold, AkzoNobel, BASF, BMW Group, Goodyear, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, Philips, RB, Steelcase, DSM and PRé Sustainability published a handbook on how to conduct a Product Social Impact Assessment.
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”Warren BuffettMoving beyond one-dimensional capitalism“All capitals are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.”This was a thought that popped into my mind after a number of real-life and online conversations about the concept of multiple capitals. This notion proposes that there is a range of sources of value (capitals) that give rise to economic and social benefits, but that current accounting and economic approaches recognise only one — financial capital.
As we have entered a new year, I’d like to take a closer look at the concept of backcasting for coming up with strategies that marry ‘transformational change’ (as sustainability practitioners like to call those meaningful sustainability outcomes that leap beyond ‘making things less bad’) with viability and desirability.Backcasting? Am I casting my eyes on what lies behind us? No, in fact backcasting looks far ahead in order to create bridges towards desirable outcomes for the future.
In the first two parts of this series, we explored the motivations behind creating a sustainability index, and the steps to take when creating an index. In this final part of the series, we will explore how organizations can deploy an index to make consistent decisions to support a sustainability strategy.After the index has been designed and created, the next task is to deploy it into the decisions-making structure. Let’s explore some examples of how other organizations have deployed this approach to make more sustainable products.
Tetra Pak has launched a new environmental benchmarking service to help food and beverage companies assess the environmental performance of their production operations, and to identify opportunities for improvement.The service provides an audit of the entire plant, including both the processing and packaging lines, assessing performance in areas such as water efficiency, waste water treatment, energy efficiency, product yield and waste, and carbon footprint. Based on this audit, Tetra Pak will then provide specific recommendations on opportunities for improvement, helping customers not only to reduce their environmental impact, but also to lower cost.
On the heels of recent moves aimed at increasing its revenue that are likely to ruffle flyers’ feathers, JetBlue Airways has released a first-of-its-kind report correlating the health of its bottom line with the long-term health of ecosystems.Along with The Ocean Foundation (TOF) and A.T. Kearney, a leading global management consulting firm, JetBlue has released the results of their unique partnership and research focusing on the long-term health of the Caribbean's oceans and beaches, and a commitment to action developed with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
Hand hygiene and healthy skin company GOJO Industries, maker of the PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, has exceeded its 2015 sustainability goals two years early, according to the company’s new sustainability report.The company reduced water usage by 40 percent, solid waste generated by 36 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent.The new report emphasizes the company's view of sustainability as an opportunity to create value and includes examples illustrating its success in creating social, environmental and economic value for its business and its stakeholders.
In Part I of this series, we explored the basics of why a company would use a sustainability index to help guide decision-making. Here, we go into further depth on the steps to create such an index.Step 1: Determining what’s importantThe first step in defining a sustainability index is to determine what factors need to be considered for inclusion in the system. What is important to your company, your customers and your stakeholders?
PRé has always believed in and worked for a sustainable future and we believe insight into the environmental and social impacts of products is a crucial step towards this future. Our approach is one of collaboration, working with partners across the world and training companies to use sustainability metrics independently. So when looking for a way to give back, it made sense to us to use our years of experience with Life Cycle Assessment to help the next generation of mission-driven businesses.
You may not have noticed, but on December 13, 2012, the travel industry reached a critical milestone. It was on that date, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), that the one-billionth international tourist arrived at her destination ready to explore the local sites.
The key question for every business model is whether it is viable and sustainable over time. We measure that through a conventional cost-benefit analysis, and we do that even in what are considered sustainable business models. Is that the way to go, and does it reflect all values that are created? Is it at all possible to develop a sustainable business when not all implicit values are valued? The answer, of course, is no, but … how can we do it differently?Assess your business model on more than just money
Across the entire agricultural supply chain — from the farm to the store shelf — the challenge of meeting demand for a rapidly growing population, while conserving natural resources, necessitates a harmonized, science-based approach to measure and communicate sustainability in agriculture. On Friday, Field to Market®: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture announced a partnership with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) aimed at achieving this goal.
When we work with a company that is just starting its sustainability journey, we try to focus on one central framing question: What does sustainability mean to your organisation? Sustainability has evolved way beyond merely measuring carbon emissions, which means it requires management of many factors. There are a multitude of impacts to consider: impacts on water use and water supply; impacts on human health; and even social impacts on workers and communities.What Does Sustainability Mean to You?
Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, has reduced its carbon emissions from shipboard operations by 20 percent one year ahead of schedule, according to the company’s new sustainability report.
Actively managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has proven to result in direct economic gains for companies. A 2013 KPMG study of the S&P 500 companies found that firm value decreases on average by $212,000 for every additional thousand metric tons of carbon emissions produced. CDP’s Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 showed that companies who are leaders of sustainability reporting have higher overall returns than companies of the Global 500.