With increasing pressure on natural resources and the accompanying impact on the environment, more businesses are beginning to realize the importance of properly valuing the natural resources upon which they depend. To do this they need to include ‘natural capital’ in their decision-making processes alongside other forms of capital, such as financial and human capital. The challenge for companies is a lack of data, tools and processes to facilitate business decision making in a rigorous and consistent way.
Two years in the making, the first global Natural Capital Protocol was launched today. The standardized framework brings together and builds on a number of approaches that already exist to help business measure and value natural capital. The Natural Capital Coalition suggests that by harmonizing these existing approaches, businesses everywhere can benefit from understanding their relationships with nature.
Efforts to measure corporate sustainability performance are now rampant. Many companies are actively working to improve the measurement of their sustainability impact; a Google search of “corporate sustainability metrics” yields 1.25 million results. Unfortunately, it is still unclear how corporate sustainability performance should be measured. A set of standardized metrics is needed to improve sustainability measurement and reporting.
Last week Harvard’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for Net Positive Enterprise (SHINE) hosted its annual Net Positive Summit to showcase the latest trends in well-being and health, and how they factor into creating Net Positive impacts. SHINE’s mission is to help corporations across all sectors measure and accelerate the ways in which they help the world become a healthier, more sustainable place. The summit showcased how integral well-being – which includes a combination of employee health and the health of the planet – is to creating a flourishing future.
Yesterday, Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture announced the launch of a new Science Advisory Council focused on informing the membership-based organization’s “science-based approach to delivering sustainable outcomes at the field and landscape levels.” Comprised of 12 experts, the Council is being asked to develop a sustainability standard for commodity crop production in the United States that “helps catalyze continuous improvement in environmental outcomes.”
We have entered a new era: the Anthropocene, an era characterized by humans as the dominant influence on climate and the environment. We are causing changes at such an unprecedented rate that it has been called ‘the Great Acceleration.’ We are well on our way to exceeding planetary boundaries, and while science has established some understanding of this, it is still rather abstract for us in our daily lives and in our business planning.
“I think we’re upright and we’re walking, but there’s no higher cortex functions yet,” said Gregory Unruh, sustainability editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, discussing where we stand in sustainable business evolution during a Tuesday breakout session at SB'16 San Diego.
While awareness and valuation of sustainable practices continues to grow overall, investors are demanding more data, better data, and deepening engagement with their investment prospects.
On the week’s theme of Activating Purpose, ThriveAbility Foundation co-founders Robin Wood, Ralph Thurm and Bill Baue led a Monday morning workshop on “thriveability,” their model for a regenerative, multi-capital economy.
This morning at SB’16 San Diego, BSR and Forum for the Future launched the Net Positive Project, a cross-sector coalition that aims to expand the number of companies that go beyond reducing their negative sustainability impacts to contribute in a “net positive” way to society, the environment, and the global economy.
Global index and data provider FTSE Russell today announced the launch of its LCE data model, which measures the “green” revenues of 13,400 public companies, representing 98.5 percent of total global market capitalization. Revenues from a broad range of large, mid- and small capitalization companies in 48 developed and emerging markets are mapped to 60 new green industrial subsectors, with FTSE Russell assigning each company in the model a low-carbon industrial indicator (LOWCII) factor, representing the ratio of its green revenues to its total revenues.
A sustainability manager at a large auto parts manufacturer recently explained the company’s lack of interest in water management this way: “It's not worth our time. Water is too cheap and no one cares." Moreover, the executive acknowledged that even if they did care, they had no idea how to tackle an operational issue that is largely unseen and highly distributed. Doing nothing is a common response, and indicative of the second-class status water still has in much of the business world, including the boardroom.
Oil company shareholders are voting on resolutions today that propose to cut spending on opening new oilfields and change how they report reserves, among others. In Dallas, Texas, ExxonMobil shareholders are voting on four climate change-related resolutions, while Chevron has four such issues on the ballot for its Annual General Meeting in San Ramon, California.
The same firms that convinced ExxonMobil to report on climate change and carbon asset risk in 2014, Arjuna Capital and As You Sow, are leading the charge again with these new proposals.
In the first initiative of its kind to publicly benchmark corporate chemicals management, the Chemical Footprint Project has published its inaugural report. The results provide valuable insights into how leading companies manage chemicals in their products and supply chains, and how all companies might manage these issues in the future.
Forty-one companies have joined the Science-Based Targets initiative since the COP21 climate negotiations in December. On the eve of the Climate Action Summit in Washington, D.C. last week, the initiative announced that a total of 155 companies have now committed to set emissions reduction targets in-line with the global effort to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Luxury goods and responsible consumption need not be contradictory terms — that was the core takeaway from a livestream Q & A session held earlier this week by Kering, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of luxury apparel and home to brands such as Gucci, PUMA, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
Materiality is murky – especially when it comes to sustainability. Reporting on material issues in the financial context has been legally required for decades and is widely understood. It is less widely understood – and not yet well applied – in non-financial contexts.
This clearly has to change – and quickly. Various stakeholders, including shareholders, are increasingly demanding greater identification and disclosure of material sustainability issues. They have become ever more aware of the opportunities, as well as the risks, of these matters.
Nine of the “Big 10” global food and beverage companies - Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever - have improved their ratings by at least 10 percent in three years since Oxfam began keeping score through its Behind the Brands scorecard.
Cross-Posted from Leadership.
Two decades ago, John Elkington introduced the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), a disruptive corporate tool to measure a company’s success based on three Ps: People, Planet and Profit. TBL and its derivatives are widely used by companies around the world. While some companies have embedded the TBL into the core of their business, many others loosely practice it to varying degrees.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and other forms of sustainability reporting can be a painful process. Whether you’re a one-person sustainability, health and safety manager or your company has staff around the world who share reporting responsibilities, it can be challenging to effectively collect, assess, and communicate your company’s sustainability metrics.
Fashion brands’ sustainability performance has lacked independent verification and true transparency. European non-profit MADE-BY is hoping their ‘ground-breaking’ new tool, called MODE Tracker, will change that.