By: Cora Lee Mooney, Director of Learning & Senior Consultant
It is data collection season in the world of sustainability. The reports and questionnaires are due in a few months, and corporate social responsibility professionals are tapping internal data owners for information updates.
This year, however, the arduous company-wide data collection process that occurs is becoming more dynamic for companies making the move to the G4 Guidelines. Specifically, the new requirements for the Disclosure on Management Approach (DMA) in GRI G4 are shifting the course of conversation.
For many companies, the internal process of gathering information for a report section typically was completed by asking data owners for two key elements, the policies and programs in place and the data to demonstrate performance. For example, a disclosure on local spending would identify the definition of “local” used in the corporate policy, and then describe activities and programs implemented over the year to increase the amount of money spent on local suppliers.
Increased transparency and external reporting are essential for companies. Yet, getting stakeholders to read a company sustainability report and derive value from it is one of the biggest obstacles for corporate responsibility reporting. When done right, online reporting helps to overcome this challenge. Online CR reports are more accessible, engaging and measurable than stand-alone print reports.
1. Report Accessibility
Offering your sustainability report online and supplementing it with additional formats for a variety of readers is the best way for stakeholders to have maximum accessibility to it and thus, greater opportunity to read it. A stand-alone print report limits its accessibility by virtue of its medium; the report is only available to the number of people less than or equal to the printed quantity, and only those who can physically get their hands on it.
In addition to offering your report online, several other supporting formats expand readership.
Engaging employees in the environment is good for business and the environment. BrownFlynn collaborated with TD Bank and the Environmental Defense Fund to create an Environmental Employee Engagement (EEE) Roadmap, enabling others to benefit from the development and implementation of TD Bank’s successful EEE program. Read the whitepaper here!
Inner-city vacancy, environmental degradation and social inequality are fundamental concerns for 21st century America. Post-Second World War America was a place of prosperity and rapid economic growth. Government investment, in the form of federal incentives — including the G.I. Bill and the Federal Aid Highway Act — allowed Americans to spread out from the city-center farther than before. Termed suburban sprawl, this land-use pattern had, and continues to have, disastrous effects on the environment.
A study by Edward Glaeser shows that suburban CO2 emissions in New York City are 14,127 pounds greater per average household than their central city counterpart. Additionally, as suburbs and exurbs flourish and tax dollars are funneled into these communities, central cities increasingly become economically, academically and physically stressed. Cities such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia are littered with the effects of urban decay. Philadelphia, for instance, has more than 40,000 parcels of vacant land, according to the nonprofit Take Back Vacant Land. These properties cost the city of Philadelphia $70 million in lost taxes, and $20 million is spent by the city, annually, for safety and upkeep.
Another year, another staff retreat come and gone this week with time for reflection and energizing momentum. We shared good conversation, good ideas, good food and good fun as we planned for the future and took part in some community service – not too shabby for two days! Here are some of the highlights through photos…
As the federal government extends sustainability reporting to its supply chain, it needs to adopt more standardized frameworks for reporting than those now in place
The US federal government is poised to extend its sustainability reporting to its supply chain, giving further impetus to a best practice already encouraged by competition in the marketplace. Large government procurers, including the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense, are inserting questions and requirements about sustainability into contracts with their largest vendors as they renew them.
‘We just renewed contracts with our two biggest packaging vendors,’ says Jed Ela, sustainability co-ordinator at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, which buys products and services not only for GSA’s own needs but also for those of many other federal agencies. ‘They had the ability to report carbon footprint at the customer level.’