State of Sustainability Reporting in India

India, even with it’s moderate growth over the last 2 years is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It stands 10th in the world by GDP third in terms of PPP among the world. Even when the US, EU, Japan and other large G8+5 countries have seen stagnant or low growth rates, only China and India have managed a steady growth of 7.8% &  5.4% respectively. With growth comes pressure on resources, social inclusion and environmental stability. Both India and China are continually facing issues such as inequality, poverty, environmental pollution, corruption, public health and the like. With the line between public responsibility and private initiative blurring, the popular opinion is putting pressure on private players to be responsible in their activities, go beyond financial performance and contribute positively to the social, economic and environmental well-being of the nation and society at large. In short,  companies are under pressure to become more Sustainable. While most of the companies have been able to heed this call, a lot …

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet

Source: Common Dreams It’s Time to Fight the Status Quo by Bill McKibben My solution is: get outraged. Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between. All along, two things have been clear. One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere …

The 2012 Sustainability Leaders

Source: SustainAbility It is probably no surprise that perceptions of sustainability leadership have declined or stalled for nearly all institutional actors – including corporations, governments, NGOs and social entrepreneurs – in the last 12 months. Social protests around the world indicate disillusionment with rising inequality, unemployment and continued unsustainable short-term thinking and reflect the growing distrust in leaders of all stripes. The 2012 Sustainability Leaders: A GlobeScan / SustainAbility Survey polled a total of 825 experts in January and February 2012 to better understand which companies and sectors of society, if any, are making any progress in advancing the sustainability agenda. Continue Reading…

ConAgra Foods’ green strategy: Award employees for sustainability efforts

Source: GreenBiz.com Last year, ConAgra Foods — the U.S. packaged-foods company behind such well-known brands as Hunt’s Ketchup and Reddi-Wip — saved millions of dollars while dramatically cutting its energy consumption. It accomplished this by not relying on major process changes or heavy investments hailing from top executives. Instead, it turned to its employees. The accomplishments stemmed from an awards program, launched in 1992, developed to encourage employees to proactively look for ways to eliminate waste and reduce water and energy consumption. By allowing different divisions to set their own sustainability goals and awarding employees that met those goals, the Nebraska food giant saved 300 million gallons of water, eliminated 61,000 tons of landfill waste and reduced its carbon emissions by more than 43,000 metric tons. These efforts also saved the company $28 million. Gail Tavill, ConAgra’s vice president of sustainable development, spoke with GreenBiz about how the program works, lessons learned and challenges the program has faced. GreenBiz: How did you reduce water usage by 300 million gallons of water? Tavill: …

Visualizing sustainability’s rewards via MIT’s new interactive tool

Source: GreenBiz.com MIT Sloan Management Review released the results of its latest global survey on sustainability and innovation earlier this month, revealing that a significant number of companies see the value of sustainable business practices — and are reaping the financial rewards. For the first time, the results were released in aninteractive data visualization format. The new tool allows readers to filter the data by industry, company size, company performance and other factors. Presenting the data this way yielded several interesting findings: • The automotive sector gets it: The automotive industry leads the way in making the business case for sustainability. However, when it comes to profitability, automotive is only in the middle of the pack; the consumer products industry is at the top, with 42 percent of consumer products respondents saying that they are profiting from their sustainability activities. • High reputational benefits: Improved brand reputation is the greatest benefit companies enjoy from addressing sustainability issues. This is especially true in the automotive, consumer products and media/entertainment industries. • Customers drive sustainability: Of the “harvesters,” those respondents …

India to pump in Rs 2 lakh cr in 12th Plan to save climate

Source: Economic Times The fight against climate change will take a strategic jump in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) with the government intending to plough in almost Rs 2 lakh crore through the various missions, the working group on climate of the 12th Five-Year Plan has said. The report seeks setting up of a dedicated structure of governance to oversee the different programmes under the 12th Plan with such large funds to be invested. The agriculture mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change alone is to spend upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years to make the primary sector more resilient to inevitable changes in climate change. The report pointed out that the government already spends 2.8% of its GDP on programmes that bring adaptation benefits to people. But the expert group, headed by K Kasturirangan, which wrote the report, has warned that government should not make any further commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without holding the widest possible consultations with ministries concerned and other stakeholders. It …

F1 team Sauber shifts into “carbon neutral” status

Source: Business Green In a move that will interpreted as an example of either effective green management or shameless greenwash, Formula 1 racing team Sauber has today announced that it has obtained “carbon neutral” status. The Swiss team said that it has signed a deal with UK offset company Carbon Neutral Investments (CNI), which supports a range of emission reduction projects around the world, including wind farms in India, waste heat recovery projects in China, and hydro-electric stations in Brazil. Sauber will purchase credits from these initiatives to cover not only emissions from all its facilities, but also emissions from transportation of freight to race venues and staff travel. It added that it would then also purchase an excess of 30 per cent more carbon offset credits to ensure any emissions that may remain unaccounted for are covered. The move builds on the team’s achievement in gaining ISO 14001 certification for the company’s environmental management system in April. “The certification of our environmental management system less than a month ago …

The Companies Combating Climate Change In The Most Innovative Ways

Source: Fast CoExist Coming to a Bloomberg terminal near you: a ranking of the most innovative U.S. companies on climate change. And some of the contenders may surprise you. Produced by Maplecroft, a U.K.-based research house, the ranking tracks how 360 companies worth more than $1 billion are “mitigating climate change related risks,” managing carbon emissions, and innovating “clean-tech solutions and new products”. Maplecroft uses more than 100 criteria to reach its assessment, with the “innovation” piece making up 50% of the scores.   “We see the index as a sign of responsible business managing and mitigating their CO2 emissions and the impact that climate-related events are having on them,” says Kevin Franklin, a Maplecroft director. “But equally it’s about proactive businesses that are looking to generate new opportunities for revenues. The idea is the rating evaluates that, and then the index sits on the Bloomberg terminal, and ultimately helps drive further investment in businesses that are part of the climate solution.” Continue Reading…

How integrated reporting can help companies see the bigger picture

Source: Guardian Sustainability By including environmental, social and governance information in their reports, businesses can reap significant benefits. The United Nations has put global reporting by companies on sustainability among its proposed key outcomes for the Rio+ 20 summit in June. The “zero draft” policy agenda that negotiators will consider, calls for “a global policy framework requiring all listed and large private companies to consider sustainability issues and to integrate sustainability information within the reporting cycle.” This is a welcome move. Corporate reporting is all too often narrowly limited to financial information. But in our increasingly complex world, a company’s finances represent just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface lurk risks that could cause leaks in the most seemingly successful business’s operations, reputation or bottom line. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico involving BP and recent issues regarding factory conditions at a Chinese supplier for Apple are cases in point. Many of the growing sustainability risks companies face, such as changing consumer preferences, climate change, and …

Big Business On The Sustainability Offensive

Source: Ethical Corporation There is a growing trend for big companies to use sustainable concepts as core business drivers For decades, many companies have typically responded to sustainability challenges by pursuing incremental operational improvements. But we are beginning to see an interesting new trend – businesses using sustainability as a tactic for long-term offense, rather than just short-term defence. Despite the uncertain economic outlook, leading international companies across diverse sectors are investing heavily in sustainable products and services. Others are making cross-industry partnerships to develop next generation products such as the elusive mass market electric car. Some are even enhancing their business models through mergers and acquisitions that seek to address, and capitalise on, sustainability trends. The big challenges What is driving this marked shift in approach? In our view, it is not just a focus on marketing or corporate social responsibility or even the need to manage costs and improve efficiency. Instead, leading companies are demonstrating a growing belief that their future profit and growth will be tied to …

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