Reasons Not to Publish a Sustainability Report (At Least Not Yet)

Source: Environmentalleader I love sustainability reports. At my company, we think they are a critical aspect of a company’s sustainability strategy, useful for looking back and measuring progress as well as a tool for future planning. That doesn’t mean your company should jump on the sustainability reporting bandwagon, however. In fact, there are several really good reasons not to produce a sustainability report (at least, not yet). 1. You’re really looking for a marketing “puff piece.” While it’s true that sustainability reports can (and should) talk about all the good things that your organization is doing, the reality is that a sustainability report needs to be a complete and accurate reflection of what you are doing right and wrong. For each topic that you tackle, plan to cover the challenges and opportunities that you face. And make sure that you’re including all the topics that your stakeholders care about — not just the ones where you shine. A report that makes you look 100 percent “right” on sustainability is going to raise red flags …

6 keys to broadening and deepening sustainability

Source: Greenbiz Despite the growing number of corporate leaders that recognize the importance of sustainability as a long-term business imperative, major challenges persist in closing the “execution gap” between strategy and actual performance. Closing this gap will require leaders to focus on embedding sustainability both broadly and deeply into the very fabric of the business. This will involve both aggressively de-siloing sustainability and institutionalising it into the operational and capital investment decisions that occur on a daily basis. Where decisions are made One reason embedding sustainability is critical is because business performance is predominantly delivered “out there” in the line of the business, not in the CEO’s office. Managers — who are faced with inevitable trade-offs day-in day-out — are frequently exposed to perceived short-term tensions between social, environmental and financial performance, regardless of how clearly a company’s corporate strategy aligns the three. Moreover, in large, complex, multinational corporations, the specific skills and knowledge of employees from across the organization must be leveraged to develop sustainable solutions — they are …

Why Toyota is Top Global Green Brand of 2012

Source: Triplepundit Interbrand, one of the world’s leading brand consulting firms, released its 2012 Best Global Green Brands Report.Toyota (#1), Johnson & Johnson (#2) and Honda (#3) top the ranking with Danone (#9), Ford (#15), Starbucks (#36) and UPS (#43) representing this year’s top risers. To make the top 50 Best Global Green Brands, organizations must perform well in two areas: sustainability performance and sustainability perception. Interbrand examines how a brand’s sustainability efforts are perceived by consumers. Each brand’s performance score is based on 82 individual sub-metrics across six key elements: governance, stakeholder engagement, operations, supply chain, transportation and logistics, and products and services. Each brand’s perception score is determined through a consumer study covering 10,000 respondents; 1,000 in each of the ten largest economies, including the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, India and Canada. Each brand is assessed by 1,250 consumers using Interbrand’s six external brand strength pillars: authenticity, relevance, differentiation, consistency, presence and understanding. The Best Global Green Brand report’s overall scores are calculated by combining the …

The Ten Commandments of Green Marketing

Source: Environmentalleader Hold on a second. The New York Times may be giving marketers of green brands a free pass but I’m not going to let them off the hook that easily for their brands’ often uninspiring performance. Yeah, green brands are facing fierce headwinds but there are several actions marketers of sustainable brands can take to goose their brands’ sales. I’ve boiled down my suggestions into Ten Commandments of Green Marketing: I. Thou shalt not assume that all people who want to buy green products are card carrying, latte sipping (or granola munching, etc.) liberals. There are many people out there that live outside so-called politically progressive areas (e.g., Berkeley) that want to green their purchases if only it were easier.  They are worried about the environment but say they are not aware of many green brands and are skeptical about green products’ ability to get the job done at a reasonable price.  Make these folks aware of your brands and convince them they work at a price that doesn’t break the bank.  …

Business leaders need systemic thinking for sustainability

Source: Guardian The economy is in the tank and thousands of people are out of work. At the same time, the planet is dangerously heating up and ecological systems are declining. What are we to make of these troubles? Are they merely the result of poor policies? Or is something more fundamental at play? The roots of our difficulties are simple, yet for many business and political leaders completely hidden from view. The activities of most firms, and the goals and structure of the economy as a whole, have been shaped by fundamental misjudgments about how the planet functions and what it means to live a good life. To resolve today’s challenges, our leaders must overcome the erroneous perspectives that created the predicament. At the most fundamental level, this requires moving from a “linear” way of thinking – where we focus on quickly fixing the most visibly broken parts of what isn’t working – to a “systems” perspective that brings thought and behaviour into line with the natural laws of …

The Business Scorecard from Rio+20

Source: Greenbiz As 130 heads of state began their closing remarks in Rio last Friday, the blame game had already begun, and with it a knee-jerk dismissal of the Rio+20 outcomes as inadequate and not ambitious enough. Trade unions were “bitterly disappointed,” while the environmental community called Rio+20 “a failure,” “a hoax” and “a squandered opportunity.” All this drama ignores the extraordinary effort demonstrated by Brazil to lead the conference to a resolution despite the economic downturn and political headwinds – indeed, it’s rather amazing that the conference took place at all. The knee-jerk overstatements also ignore the vast participation, pledges and funding brought to Rio by non-governmental and public-sector players. The UN reckons those pledges amount to half a trillion dollars. Given the scale of global challenges, more might be needed, but this is a significant starting point. For those who have taken part in previous UN sustainability events — including the original Rio earth summit in 1992 and the Johannesburg summit ten years ago — this is déjà …

Four Concepts For The Future That Could Create A More Sustainable World

Source: Fast Co-Exist Earlier this year, Sony teamed up with the Forum of the Future to brainstorm four scenarios of what life will be like in 2025. Among them: a treadmill of “hyperinnovation” and declining carbon emissions; a scenario of damaging climate change and reactive technologies (like solar paint); a scenario where sustainability and strong community ties are emphasized; and a world where the sharing economy has taken off on a global scale. Now Sony and a handful of partners have come up with four concepts–a platform, a product, a place, and a philosophy–that could exist within and take advantage of these visions of the future 15 years from now. THE INTERNET OF THINGS ACADEMY In the future, it’s possible that nearly everything will have an IP address–your clothes, your plants, and your refrigerator will all freely send and receive data. The proposed Internet of Things Academy will teach people to use the hardware and software behind this connected world, allowing them to do everything from creating experimental economic models to public health …

India’s low-carbon technology market likely to be worth $135 billion by 2020

Source: Economic Times Billions of dollars worth of investment in clean technology and green energy are eyeing India, where the market for low-carbon technology is expected to expand to $135 billion by 2020, according to industry experts, making the country one of the most lucrative destination for companies in the domain. Renewable energy has already lured stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai and large companies such asReliance Power and Lanco, and the flow of venture capital has increased in the sector. In addition, foreign companies involved in solar power and wind energy, as well as global funds that scout for opportunities around the globe are increasingly eyeing India for a slice of the lucrative market. The market is promising as the government strives to tame energy-guzzling factories that spew toxic fumes, and old vehicles that contaminate the air with emissions. Analysts say that the market would expand even faster after the country’s economic growth bounces back from the current global slowdown. “We are really bullish on India in the long run, because the private sector …

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 …

How Unilever crowdsourced creativity to meet its sustainability goals

Source: GreenBiz.com Unilever had painted itself into a corner. After the global consumer goods company published its Unilever’s Sustainable Living Planlaying out ambitious sustainability goals, company leaders realized meeting those goals was going to be tough. So they got creative. Working with GlobeScan, they created an online collaboration platform with one clear purpose – to enable Unilever to hit its sustainability targets for 2020. “We can’t solve these issues on our own,” explained Miguel Pestana, VP Global External Affairs, “We need to engage with civil society, companies, government and other key stakeholders. It’s about developing new models of collaboration.” The response was huge: More than 2,200 sustainability leaders and experts, representing 77 countries, registered for the first Unilever Sustainable Living Lab, a 24-hour live, online, moderated dialogue that ran from April 25th to 26th. Their task: Collaborate and co-create ideas and solutions for moving to the next level in sustainable living. Some described the Lab, designed by Unilever and GlobeScan in partnership with Fenton Communications, as a ‘crowdsourcing’ solution to sustainability. But, as with Unilever’s Open Innovation platform, it was important to …

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