February 10, 2016 | By isosteam |
Given the significant uptake in corporate non-financial disclosure over the last 10 years or so, some would question the dynamics of sustainability in our nation’s capital. As the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) is the “home away from home” for various national state representatives, intergovernmental agencies and policymakers, local dialogue over how to reach global objectives is influential.
However, the city’s recent recognition for its efforts has really been years in the making. As early adopters, sustainability pioneers like the National Geographic Society and the World Bank have led the way for others eager to design and implement strategic sustainability practices.
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY:
The National Geographic Society’s sustainability efforts were shaped by its mission to inspire people to care about the planet. Its pledge has translated into a concerted effort to reduce negative environmental impacts. Like all organizations, there came a point in time where its employees questioned what they were doing to live out the Society’s mission through their daily operating activities.
In 2003, the National Geographic Society’s CEO formalized sustainability as an organizational priority, paving the way for the Society’s leadership and innovation. The Society’s headquarters became the world’s first existing building to receive LEED certification, the organization began composting and it also initiated a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the National Geographic magazine. A quick Google search provides further detail on the Society’s sustainability commitment from food sourcing efforts to the voluntary employee Green Team that develops innovative solutions. According to the National Geographic Society’s Senior Manager of Sustainability, Susan Kolodziejczyk, there is a natural next step.
“Ideally, transferring performance to a wider reporting strategy will promote continuous improvement.”
THE WORLD BANK:
The World Bank’s sustainability reporting efforts were first used to improve transparency on the application of environmental, social and governance criteria in its corporate and client projects. Recent reports have discussed the Bank’s progress toward meeting GHG reduction targets, its success in improving waste diversion from cafeterias and numerous LEED-certified buildings in Washington, D.C., and developing countries like South Sudan, Kenya and the Philippines. However, the report coordinators have struggled to find the right formula for effectively bridging financial and non-financial disclosure efforts as a model for greater transparency. In a one-on-one conversation, the World Bank Sustainability Coordinator Monika Kumar explained the Bank’s next move.
“We are shifting the way we produce our sustainability report to a biennial publication complemented by a full-page spread about sustainability in the Annual Report. This better reflects the Bank’s mission and presence.”
Knowledge built over the years can now be shared with its public sector clients — stimulating a ripple effect toward strengthened governance and transparency globally. This move demonstrates the Bank’s efforts to translate its own experience to its constituents. To drive discourse, the World Bank has established a “community of practice” to serve as a forum for peer-to-peer and expert knowledge exchange on the role of non-financial reporting in the public sector. The aim is to strengthen governance systems while shaping a more sustainable future.
GRI AND CDP CERTIFIED TRAINING:
To hear how these organizations are pursuing sustainability reporting firsthand, join us in Washington, D.C., March 16-18, 2016, when the National Geographic Society will play host to sustainability practitioners completing the GRI and CDP Certified Trainings delivered by ISOS Group’s Center for Social Responsibility.
GRI and CDP Certified Training http://isosgroup.com/sustainability-training/dc/