In the business world we are inundated with data on a daily basis: from bill of materials, formulations, and purchasing records to customer transactions, production volumes and utility bills. The amount of data available for use within organizations continuously increases — so much so that we aren’t just talking about “data” anymore, but “big data,” which puts us into a part of the metric system that I’m not sure we even learned back when I was in elementary school (petabytes of data anyone?). We all recognize there is a lot of data embedded within our business systems, but the real question is, how do we access, filter, organize and ultimately analyze all this data so that it turns into information — and more importantly, information that feeds into intelligent decision-making?
This is the first in a four-part series by Ralph Thurm and Nick De Ruiter examining Sustainability Context.Spring 2014 seems to be the moment in time where Materiality suddenly appeared on the screen of corporate sustainability reporters. At least one could wonder why, within a couple of weeks, countless workshops popped up around the world, webcasts were announced and books were published just on this one single issue of the sustainability reporting agenda. One author even declared a calm "war on Materiality." But wait a minute — the issue of defining what is material in sustainability reports isn't new, so what's the reason for this sudden shake-up?
SABMiller has set new 2020 targets for its sustainable development programs. The new program, called Prosper, focuses on supporting the role small businesses play in generating economic growth and reducing poverty around the world. The world’s second-largest brewer says it is using its supply chains from farmers to retailers to drive inclusive growth, sustainable resource use and alcohol responsibility.With its new set of goals, SABMiller has pledged to:
GE invested more than $2 billion in research and development for ecomagination and healthymagination innovations in 2013, with ecomagination offerings generating $28 billion in revenue, according to the company’s new sustainability report.
In response to increasing recognition of climate risk, CDP has released a new white paper containing fresh insights into how a price on carbon pollution might benefit companies and the US economy as a whole. Contributors include American Electric Power (AEP) chairman Nick Akins, former Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, along with investors, policy experts from Stanford and Columbia Universities, and other select thought leaders.
There are now a rash of sustainable business models — sharing economy, eco-design, circular economy and many others — all with their good points and their fifteen minutes of fame. Even if companies have good products and a thorough understanding of their customers’ needs, using the wrong business model means not all of them succeed in achieving their sustainability business goals.Know What Your Hotspots Are
AT&T has realized annualized energy savings of more than $191 million from 18,800 energy efficiency projects implemented since 2010, according to the company’s recent Annual Update, released Tuesday.Besides energy efficiency, other highlights from 2013 include progress on supplier engagement, water efficiency and AT&T’s education initiative, Aspire:Supply chain
Ford has reached its goal to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle by 30 percent worldwide two years ahead of schedule, according to the company’s 2013-2014 Sustainability Report.Ford says it is furthering its commitment to aggressively step up water conservation programs at its global facilities and among its suppliers. Plans are underway to further cut water use by another 2 percent this year and to set new long-term goals.
MillerCoors now uses an average of 3.48 barrels of water to brew one barrel of beer, a 9.1 percent decrease from 2012, according to the brewer’s latest sustainability report. For comparison, some U.S. breweries use more than 6 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of beer.
It’s the same old story: Consumers say they care about social impact but their behavior just doesn’t match their statements. So marketers and brand managers have rightfully begun to doubt this claim. Why does this happen? Because the traditional approach to determining what social impact to fund has been more like guesswork than the rigorous consumer research approaches used for other marketing decisions. The result is that brands and companies spend literally billions of dollars on causes and issues in hopes their consumers will care. There must be a better way. And now there is...
PRé has long 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 its industry-standard SimaPro LCA software, PRé profoundly believes in the possibility and viability of a sustainable future and the crucial role metrics can play in that transformation.So in the interest of furthering business’ positive impacts from the ground up, PRé has announced that, through the end of the year, it will provide complimentary sustainability metrics assessments to promising mission-driven startups, in order to accelerate their expansion.
Resources for grappling when “all perspectives seem true,” and long-established categories are crumblingIn 10 earlier parts of this series, we discussed 20 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field. (Find the first 7 articles here and the last three here.)Think you have it bad trying to accurately measure and report on your company’s carbon footprint and supply chain impacts?
In part 1, the Center for Sustainable Organizations’ Mark McElroy provided a refresher on the thinking behind context-based sustainability (CBS) and materiality. Here, he elaborates on ways companies can define and use materiality for themselves.The Context-Based View
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.