Campbell’s on the evolution of sustainability

Sustainability can be incorporated into corporate culture if concepts relating to environmental and social impacts are communicated in clear and meaningful ways, according to Dave Stangis of Campbell’s Soup Company who recentlysat down with GreenBiz.com’s Nature of Business Radio for a chat on the evolution of sustainability.

As VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at Campbell’s, an Intelex client, Stangis has championed environmental and social responsibility and in three short years has made Campbell’s a leader in CSR, having cultivated an environment of collaboration within the company.

According to Stangis, business leaders must “translate these concepts of social impact, environmental performance improvement, employee engagement, community involvement into ways to make their jobs better, more impactful, and improve their innovation and productivity, it’s a whole different world. All of a sudden it’s a tool and not an obstacle. And that’s really the goal.”

Listen to the entire chat over at Greenbiz.… Read more...

Is a software-based EMS the only way to effectively improve sustainability performance?

Monitoring environmental impacts by tracking sustainability KPIs is essential for any business that wants to improve or report on environmental performance. But, from a financial perspective, how these environmental metrics are tracked is as important as the fact they are tracked. Results increasingly show a software-based EMS is the most effective way of improving environmental performance and boosting revenue.

Environmental management has been overcomplicated in recent years, and business leaders often feel overwhelmed by the perceived array of complex requirements associated with environmental performance. But it is actually quite simple. On a rudimentary level, it involves tracking and reporting on four critical metrics: waste and wastewater output, water usage, and air emissions. After analyzing these factors, a business can develop and implement new policies to mitigate its environmental impacts and save money. 

But the most substantial savings of environment management arises from the implementation of a software-based EMS. The return … Read more...

Sustainability reporting, minus the burden of reporting

Thinking of reporting on your sustainability efforts through an outlet like the GRI? Good for you.

That said, you may have encountered some opposition to the premise, or criticisms highlighted by Corporate Social Responsibility guru Mallen Baker, who has pointed to an oft-cited flaw in the GRI approach, namely the fact a report is essentially a company’s own narrative of its sustainability performance.

“All the current models of reporting expect the companies to provide their own narrative — to tell the story complete,” he noted on his blog. “And yet that doesn’t work, because the end user actually doesn’t read the reports, and doesn’t trust the company to provide its own context. There are no expert interpreters of this information. All the focus on assurance is about checking data — but that isn’t the real issue. People by and large don’t think the companies will lie about the data … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #5 — Communicate your performance

We’ve covered the importance of developing a proactive plan, quantifying financial gains, understanding the role of metrics, and using software to manage your sustainability program for the most effective results.

Today let’s talk about the often overlooked element of a winning sustainability program: communicating your progress.

5. Communicate Commitment/Performance to Stakeholders: While the primary function of sustainability initiatives will be the returns they deliver through conservation efforts and a number of other cost-savings effects, don’t miss the boat on the wealth of opportunities that accompany clearly communicating sustainability efforts and accomplishments to stakeholders. When developing a sustainability strategy, consider incorporating an ongoing sustainability reporting plan that conforms to existing frameworks (such as the IIRC, GRI and others).

While some critics have complained that comprehensive sustainability reporting can dominate resources and distract from essential business operations, proper planning, resource allocation and the use of software solutions … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #3 — The role of metrics

We’ve discussed the value of a proactive strategy and quantifying financial gains in building a sustainability strategy.

Today we’ll look at another critical component of a sustainability strategy that is the heart of the adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

3. Understand the Role of Metrics: Before you make your first step into the world of sustainability – before you install that first compact fluorescent lightbulb – it’s imperative to understand you need to know where you’re at.

Along the lines of the lightbulb example above, it can be as simple as starting with an energy audit of your plants, offices, sites and other business units. If you know where you’re at, you can begin to set goals and targets, key elements of any successful sustainability strategy. The progress achieved through each action and each campaign within your sustainability strategy will be much more significant if they … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #2 — Calculate the ROI

Yesterday we discussed the role of developing a proactive plan in building a successful sustainability strategy.

Today is all about a term CFOs, VPs, Directors, executive team members  like to hear a lot: ROI.

2. Calculate the ROI: You may have achieved the buy-in of senior management, or your CEO may have provided a clear mandate to undertake sustainable development initiatives. Either way, acknowledge sustainability programs are an investment and spell-out in clear, concrete terms the tangible ROI a sustainability strategy will generate on a short- and long-term basis.

As suggested above, some indirect savings values will be coloured by probabilities and expressed as ranges. However, an honest, comprehensive breakdown — which can be developed in-house or facilitated by a consultant or software solutions provider in many cases — will give your organization a clear analysis of what gains can be expected from the adoption of a comprehensive sustainable … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #1 — Develop a proactive plan

Thinking of developing an organization-wide sustainability strategy?

An uninitiated organization — perhaps a young, yet fast-growing company just beginning to toy with the idea of pursuing sustainability initiatives in the interest of boosting financial performance — might wonder, given the multifaceted, complex purview of sustainable development, where exactly to start. The answer is simpler and more straightforward than you might suspect.

This week we’ll be reviewing five components of a successful sustainability strategy. The first aspect is all about a word we use a lot over here at Intelex: Proactive.

1. Develop a Proactive Strategy: Just as a sustainability framework is an intrinsically integrated framework of interrelated elements affecting all areas of business management, ad hoc and reactive actions have no place in a sustainability management strategy.

Rather than defining policies on a reactive basis, develop a comprehensive, proactive sustainability strategy to build a sustainable development program that is … Read more...

So who reports anyway?

GRI Reports List

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in recent years. That’s because more and more organizations have been reporting every year since the organization launched in 1999.

But have you ever wondered who, exactly, is reporting? The answers are much closer than you think. The GRI website features a comprehensive, downloadable reports list containing information on all organizations that have provided sustainability reports along GRI guidelines through the past 12 years (that GRI is aware of). You can download the report as a Microsoft Excel file here.

While only a few organizations have reported in 2011 (we’re only in the second month of the year, after all), what is striking about the list is the sheer increase of the amount of organizations that report year after year. Nearly 1,800 organizations reported in 2010, up from about 1,450 in 2009.

After downloading the report, … Read more...