With all of the airtime being given to materiality and integrated reporting these days, I am increasingly asked to explain what the context-based sustainability (CBS) perspective might be for each. Indeed, the implications of CBS are quite profound on both fronts. But before I explain them, let me first take a moment to remind readers of what CBS is and how it is defined.
Setting strong standards for climate-changing carbon emissions from power plants would also result in reductions in more than 750,000 tons of other air pollutants that can make people sick; damage forests, crops, and lakes; and harm fish and wildlife, according to a new study by scientists at Syracuse University and Harvard.
Autodesk helped pioneer the corporate practice of setting science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals with its open-source methodology, C-FACT, or Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets. The effectiveness of this approach was validated late last year when Autodesk topped the ranking in the Climate Counts report Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance Through the Lens of Climate Science.
In conjunction with the publication of his new book, The Big Pivot, Andrew Winston partnered with sustainability consultant and Vanderbilt University business professor Jeff Gowdy to create the PivotGoals website, a database tracking thousands of corporate sustainability goals and targets.
In this latest installment of the #SustyGoals series, Bill Baue speaks with Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy at Intel, about the tech giant’s new science-based climate policy, released last month. In part one of this two-part interview, Harper explained the impetus for the policy and the mechanics of making it work. Here, Harper examines the micro and macro elements of the policy and what it means for Intel’s products.
At SB's third annual #NewMetrics Conference last September, the need for next-generation sustainability goals — which measure progress toward real-world goal-lines such as carbon budgets, water tables, and living wages — emerged as a key theme.
The prospects of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) are capturing the attention of the sustainability community at large, and with good reason. In part one of our two-part interview with Thomas Odenwald, SAP's Senior Vice President of Sustainability, he explained the three angles from which the company is approaching NCA; here, he offers steps for implementation.Dimitar Vlahov: This all sounds both promising and practical to me. What would you recommend the Sustainable Brands community to focus on in terms of specific next steps?
The prospects of Natural Capital Accounting are capturing the attention of the sustainability community at large, and with good reason. Keen to drill down into the topic with key players in the SB community, we sat down with Thomas Odenwald, SAP's Senior Vice President of Sustainability, to get his perspective on the implications and applications of this crucial movement. Dimitar Vlahov: There is a lot of buzz these days in sustainability circles about Natural Capital Valuation and Accounting. To what extent are you following this conversation and what do you think about emerging case studies?
For over 20 years, PRé has been the metrics solutions partner for first-movers in a variety of industries aiming to create business value from sustainable products. Perhaps best known for their pioneering SimaPRO LCA software, PRé has recently shifted its focus to examine the social impacts of products. We spoke with Renée Morin, president of PRé North America, to find out more about the company’s new direction and what it has learned so far.
“We're screwed,” agreed authors Andrew Winston and Paul Gilding in the opening plenary of last week's Ceres Conference.“But we've got huge opportunities to solve mega-challenges profitably,” Winston added.
Sustainability software and consulting firm PRé has announced a partnership with supply chain software company SupplyShift to tackle the challenges inherent in the twin fields of life cycle assessment (LCA) and supply chain sustainability, and to use the strengths of each field to support the other. These challenges involve (1) dealing with the lack of primary supplier data in LCA inventories, (2) streamlining complex data collection and management issues in supply chain efforts, (3) circumventing inefficient duplicate data requests, and (4) facilitating the use of sustainable sourcing to reduce the environmental impacts LCA identifies.
As companies obtain greater understanding of the social and environmental implications of their operations and products, the need to implement measurement methodologies to understand the impact of these business activities becomes more evident. Social impact measurement aids companies in identifying opportunities and risks associated with a project. It is a valuable ally to highlight the positive aspects of a given process or product. It is an even more useful tool to understand the important negative effects that must be managed and minimized.
Last week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) officially launched its Retail Energy Management Program by releasing the Retail Energy Management Maturity Matrix (REMMM), a new tool designed to help retailers optimize their energy management programs.
In November 2013 the first World Forum on Natural Capital took place in Scotland, signaling that the concept of natural capital accounting (NCA) as pioneered through emerging tools such as the Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) account is starting to pick up pace. Even more recent is the establishment of the Natural Capital Business Hub in February, showcasing a broad range of promising natural capital case studies that have yielded a positive return on investment.
PepsiCo, Unilever, Heineken and more than 50 other members of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform have developed the world’s first industry-aligned Farmer Self-Assessment (FSA) of sustainable agriculture practices, launched earlier this month at SAI Platform’s General Assembly in Seville, Spain.The FSA is designed for farmers to assess their sustainable agriculture practices in a way that is universally recognized by the food and drink industry, SAI says. The industry-aligned set of assessment criteria for farmers meets the sustainable sourcing needs of many companies. Any farmer can complete the assessment online and it can be used for most crop types, farm sizes and locations around the world.
Integrated reporting is the core of corporate sustainability. It is critical to organizations communicating their value creation over time and acts as a benchmark for future progress. Global brands including Walmart and Coca-Cola spend millions to collect vast amounts of data from their immense supply chains to report on their sustainability initiatives.
As natural capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services are terms that are increasingly bandied about, a few questions are increasingly being whispered by corporate colleagues that are worth answering:
John R. Ehrenfeld, author of Flourishing: A Frank Conversation About Sustainability, contends that the world is more unsustainable now than in 1972 in spite of the sustainability programs of firms worldwide.In his recent post, Ehrenfeld argues that sustainability strategies and programs fail to address the fundamental causes of unsustainability, because most economies and companies still pursue growth beyond the capacity of our planet to support it.
In January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Corporate Knights unveiled its annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies rating, with biotechnology company Biogen Idec placing second. What's behind this strong showing?