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isosteam, Author at CSR Consulting, GRI Sustainability Reporting, External Assurance, GRI, CDP, GRESB

News on GRI Sustainability Reporting, Verification & Assurance, CDP Reporting

10 Nov

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ISOS Group Sustainability Newsletter Q3 2016

November 10, 2016 | By |

1. OUR MISSION TO IMPLEMENT SUSTAINABILITY

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Since 2008, ISOS Group has grown organically to become a leading sustainability service provider. Our team of technical specialists and business strategists formed over a common goal – to create a brighter future for the next generation through encouraging better corporate governance. Today, we work with organizations of all sizes and capacities to become models of sustainable business practice while improving the communities in which they operate.  And as a bonus, organizations that implement sustainable business practices experience increased gains, beyond the short-term. We like to call that karma.We resolved this year to promote reporting efficacy and expand our support for you, our clients and partners. By igniting dialogue at conferences, delivering more tailored learning opportunities and expanding our service offerings, we’re shaping best practice at home and abroad. In that spirit, we’re constantly thinking of ways to better support your efforts, so it’s time to bring you up to speed with our recent developments and to ask ” what more can we do for you?”

2. ORGANIZATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

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ISOS Group is now a Certified B Corporation!


ISOS Group has been a strong player in sustainability reporting and training in the US. Since our founding in 2008, we have taken a grassroots approach to building awareness of sustainability reporting, training and building momentum around greater transparency. We are not just consultants; we educate, we interact 24/7 with our clients, and we are service oriented. To formalize our progressive approach, we’ve finally pursued BCorp status. Therefore, we declare our interdependence!

We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world
  • That all businesses ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered
  • That, through their products, practices and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

-> LEARN MORE ABOUT B CORPORATIONS

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Continuing the momentum in Africa!


As many of you know, we were awarded the opportunity to deliver the GRI and CDP Trainings in Sub-Saharan Africa late in 2014. We’ve since made three trips out and are thrilled with the traction.
Not only are practitioners ready to ‘Africanize Sustainability,” but these economies in hyper-development are assessing how and where to infuse more sustainable practices into the process. We’ve made many great friends and have found inspiration for our work. For more on our perspective, please click here.

Our next round of travel to Kenya and Nigeria is slated for March 2017.

-> LEARN MORE ABOUT GRI TRAINING IN AFRICA.
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Product Sustainability in the supply chain

For years, The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) has been researching ways in which to drive change at the intersection between retailers and vendors.

Though their science-based approach has been embraced by major supply chains, such as those managed by Walmart and Sam’s Club, the challenge of engaging suppliers in the process of providing reliable data continues to be a challenge.

Recently, ISOS Group completed a formal service provider training and examination on TSC’s product-level toolkits and are prepared to help accelerate sustainability management and reporting across retail supply chains. We’re excited about this next great frontier and invite you to get in touch with us to learn how your suppliers can benefit!

-> LEARN MORE ABOUT SUPPLIER SUSTAINABILITY SERVICES.

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Promoting Reporting Efficacy

Sustainability Reporting has evolved incredibly since it was first introduced to the world by a few innovators in the 1990’s, but it’s no longer enough to pursue incremental change. We need disruptive, structural and fully integrated reporting in organizations globally. This will transform our ability to meet larger international objectives, realize the benefits associated with strategic sustainability and ring in a brighter tomorrow.

In order to reach those depths, sustainability teams need to lighten their load and reduce time spent on report writing. A good 60% of that time could transfer to confirming sustainability management systems, refining calculations and actual mitigation.

If only an easy-to-use model was available! ISOS has developed one such model and companies are already starting to apply it. As part of this year’s campaign for reporting efficacy, ISOS has introduced this efficient model at GLOBE in Vancouver, Sustainatopia in San Francisco, Sustainable Brands- South Africa and during GRI’s GOLD Roundatbles. Advanced reporters are already benefitting from consistent and impactful disclosure – and increased bandwidth needed to bring about real change!

-> CONTACT ISOS GROUP TO FIND OUT MORE!

 

3. UPCOMING SUSTAINABILITY TRAINING AND EDUCATION

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From GRI G4 to the GRI Standards

Our GRI G4 trainings concluded this Fall and recently launched the GRI Standards Transition Courses. Full 2-day GRI Standards Courses will take hold in January 2017. As we’re driving the next frontier of reporting, consider scheduling an in-house training, so that our specialists may tailor content that meets your organization’s needs.

NEW GRI Practitioner Modules!“Progressing on SDG’s”
is designed to align nonfinancial reports with users needs. In addition to a basic overview of the world’s de facto standard, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), instructors will highlight ways in which the players can maximize reporting features to expand the uses of GRI’s Guidelines.
“Shared Value of Sustainability Reporting” is designed to support the alignment between GRI Guidelines and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since many organizations have yet to set targets for minimizing impacts to the international agreements on greenhouse gasses and beyond, using the SDGs can be a great way to cast the net towards larger objectives and develop actionable strategies for implementation.
“Leveraging Sustainability Reporting” is designed to enhance awareness of and capacity to use the GRI Guidelines by/for investors. It will give professionals the tools they need to address impact investment needs. This workshop is aimed at professionals in the field of investment and those within reporting organizations determined to close the needs gap.
NEW SASB FSA Prep CourseSASB is coming! Are you ready? Get up to speed with SASB and learn about the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential — a new professional certificate for investors and sustainability professionals. This 4-hour workshop led by SASB Consultancy Partner, iCompli will introduce you to SASB’s industry-specific sustainability standards, explain why they are different from GRI, and show you how to integrate them into your current reporting and portfolio analysis.

Key learning points:
• Learn how sustainability factors impact financial performance
• Understand the legal context for material sustainability information
• Gain a common language to describe the materiality of sustainability information to finance, legal and accounting professionals
• Know the difference between good disclosure vs. boilerplate

ISOS Group will follow-up by demonstrating how SASB can be used as a bridge to investors as a stakeholder group and how to operationalize the integration of this other platform within the non-financial reporting program.
GRI G4 to GRI Standards TransitionThis course, resulting in a GRI certificate, has been deliberately extended from a 4 hour module to a course that briefs participants on the G4, delves into Standards features and exposes what will be needed to make the switch. Through the end of the year, we will be teaming up with iCompli to tack on the SASB FSA Prep Course.

See: http://isosgroup.com/sustainability-training/

As space is limited and we are only scheduling two sessions, expedite your registration by mailing info@isosgroup.com

-> SIGN UP FOR ONE OF OUR UPCOMING TRAININGS.

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GRI Standards Webinar and Training

ISOS Group and The Cadmus Group, Inc. (Cadmus) partnered to co-host a free webinar on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, to share highlights of the new GRI Standards with sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals.

The webinar, led by experts from Cadmus and ISOS Group—both GRI GOLD Community members—will help parties with all levels of GRI reporting experience gain an understanding of the features, benefits, and impacts of the new GRI Standards.

The one-hour webinar is designed for a broad audience, from organizations that currently report sustainability performance to those that are just getting started. GRI encourages early adoption of the new standards throughout 2017, and the webinar will share resources and information to help attendees transition over the coming year.
-> SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR HERE.

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Strengthening the Dialogue

With that, as your group contemplates ways in which to strengthen your reporting efforts, consider joining larger conversations where your techniques can also be highlighted.

ISOS Group is proud to partner with Skytop Strategies on their upcoming summit The Future of Corporate Reporting on December 13th at Baruch College in New York.
Engage with senior executives across organizational functions who drive corporate reporting initiatives, reporting experts and practice leaders on the future of corporate reporting. Discover trends in corporate reporting and how they affect the shaping of corporate reports and their use in stakeholder relations while applying the most up-to-date reporting practices designed to take corporate reporting to the next level.

Members of ISOS Group receive a 25% discount off the dated price. To register at this special rate please contact Joshua Galow, VP Delegate Engagement at JGalow@skytopstrategies.com.

-> MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PROGRAM.

4. WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT

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Since you’re all spread out across the country, and the world in some cases, it’s difficult to find one-on-one time to catch up. Therefore, we dedicated the month of September to directly engaging with our valued stakeholders. Through short 15 minute calls, we were able to log ‘What Keeps YOU Up At Night” and present solutions that may help ease this next year’s reporting cycle.

Overall, we found that reporters need much more tailor-made solutions as they enter the era of greater integration. We have made a concerted effort to make our trainings even more accessible by larger audiences, such as those within your organizations that you depend on to produce quality non-financial disclosure. For instance, the new GRI ‘Standards’ have been introduced and we’re taking advance reservations for private, in-house trainings to bring everyone up to speed as quickly as possible. As an added feature, our practitioners will complete a gap analysis of your current reporting practices and tailor the training accordingly. As you consider kicking off this next reporting cycle, consider our menu of offerings and how we might package a solution that’s unique to your specific needs.
->CONTACT ISOS GROUP TO LEARN MORE.

5. STANDARDS UPDATES
CDP• Decarbonization Toolkit: CDP and We Mean Business unveiled a “Carbon Pricing Pathways Toolkit” to help those committed to climate change disclosure keep global temperature rise within 2°C range - the limit agreed upon by scientists and governments to avoid dangerous climate change. Prior to COP21, institutional investors committed to decarbonizing at least $100bn in investments across asset classes. That has now jumped to $600bn. https://www.cdp.net/CDPResults/carbon-pricing-pathways-2015.pdf
• New Publication: 2016 Climate Change Survey results are in! Data and insights can be accessed via: https://www.cdp.net/en/research/global-reports/tracking-climate-progress-2016#eeb2ef4efc9ed3c6369f137c83e74fca
• New Publication: On behalf of investors, CDP has started to produce a series of publications that call out on groups that fail to address specific climate change risks. One such document relates to cement manufacturers that fail to address structural issues. For more, see: https://www.cdp.net/Docs/investor/2016/cement-report-exec-summary-2016.pdf
New Publication: “Embedding a Carbon Price into Strategy” highlights some of the 1,200 companies disclosed their plans or current practice of placing a price on their carbon emissions as an approach to managing carbon risk – representing a 23% increase from last year. This year’s data demonstrates that the use of internal carbon pricing among corporations is also maturing and establishing itself as a driver of real change in business practices. For more, see: https://b8f65cb373b1b7b15feb-c70d8ead6ced550b4d987d7c03fcdd1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/cms/reports/documents/000/001/132/original/CDP_Carbon_Price_2016_Report.pdf?1474269757
GPM• Free organizational assessment: The Portfolio, Program and Project Sustainable Model (PSM3) has been packaged to assess organizational capacity, culture and competence for integrating green and sustainable change delivery. For companies who have yet to assess materiality, this could be an ideal tool. For those who have already ventured down the path toward greater sustainability and are now at the point of deeper integration, results from this assessment could be used to help streamline efforts internally and set the roadmap for a sustainability management plan. For one time only, GPM is offering a free week-long assessment to a U.S.-based company. If you’re interested, please get in touch with us at info@isoscsr.org For more on this, read into: http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/index.php/the-psm3-sustainability-assessment
Organizational changes: Material has been updated to advance the “how” to tackle climate change per COP21 commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.
GRI• Standards:” The public consultation period has now closed and the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) is back to work. The intent is to release the “Standards” in October and set the requirements for full transition by reporters for January 1, 2018.
• GRI Online Introduction Course: GRI has recently launched an online primer for newbies to the space on everything about GRI and Sustainability Reporting. This could be particularly useful for internal working groups who don’t necessarily need to be boggled down with the technical protocol, but need to have a basic understanding of how this all came about. For more information, see: http://learning.climate-kic.org/courses/gri-and-sustainability/introduction-to-gri-and-sustainability-report
GRI- SDG Compass: In working with the WBCSD and UNGC, GRI recently released the SDG Compass as a guide for business action on the Sustainable Development Goals. This document can be downloaded at: https://www.globalreporting.org/resourcelibrary/gssb/Item%2029%20-%20SDG%20Compass.pdf
SASBFollowing GRESB’s 2016 Results Launch early in September, user-friendly data sheets (global and regional detail) are available to the public. See: https://www.gresb.com/2016/global
6. WHAT’S HOT IN THE PRESS

Via our Network:

Via MIT Sloan’s Management Review:

 

 

For more information, please share your thoughts and/or needs at info@isosgroup.com

15 Sep

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Strategy for the next CSR reporting cycle

September 15, 2016 | By |

How to prepare your strategy for the next CSR reporting cycle

September is here! We can hardly believe how quickly this year has flown by. We wrapped up the busiest reporting season yet, have continued to train the Next Generation of Sustainability Reporting Practitioners, expanded our service offerings, and got the kids off to school!

As sustainability professionals, we know that this month signifies a change in focus. We are no longer thinking about this year’s or last year’s social, economic, and environmental journey. Today, we start strategizing for the future and in doing so, we ask ourselves:

  • How do we speed up the process? After all, 2030 – when we’ll start to feel the devastating effects of climate change isn’t too far off.
  • What is the next CSR reporting cycle going to look like?
  • VWhat sustainability investments are going to be the most impactful?
  • How do we effectively encourage action in supply chains, where approximately 80% of greenhouse gasses emissions occur?
  • How do we build the case for deeper integration in terms of thinking, organizational processes and resources needed to effectively and responsibly manage the businesses of the future?

After a lot of consideration and discussions with top sustainability practitioners, we believe there are three sustainability skillsets needed to leverage tomorrow’s sustainability opportunities. Acquiring these skills will improve a company’s bottom line, broaden brand recognition, positively impact shareholders and stakeholders, and enhance a company’s overall sustainability literacy:

  • Understanding and aligning the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs call for worldwide action among governments, business and communities to effectively address some of the world’s greatest sustainable development challenges by 2030. They present an opportunity for businesses to develop and implement products and strategies that promote gender equality, clean water and sanitation, responsible product consumption, peace and justice, and the like. Using the SDGs is a great way to cast the net toward larger objectives and develop actionable strategies for implementation. Companies that use SDGs in tandem with the GRI will be able to strengthen their stakeholder relationships, stay ahead of policy developments, more quickly identify business opportunities, while developing and implementing goals in all areas of business that are accepted and celebrated globally.

  • Finding the shared value in sustainability reporting.

Finding shared value in reporting is much like finding the love again for the practice, particularly when companies are certainly feeling the burden. Unlike financial reports, sustainability reporting hasn’t been as turnkey or operationalized in a standard manner. If sustainability/csr reports are written correctly, they are able to clearly articulate a reporter’s strategic methods undertaken to uncover risks and opportunities on the macro and micro levels, while also demonstrating a clear alignment to the organization’s ability to manage impacts and evaluate performance. Materiality that assesses impacts across the value chain, which has also engaged stakeholders to some degree, is at the heart of this process.

Secondly, no creative wordsmithing will correct complex calculations systems or processes. We can no longer let the credibility of data go by the wayside…hence the need to reaffirm pursuing data sets that are most material to the organization. In the United States, we’ve benefitted from working within a non-regulated space, which has allowed us to strengthen our processes. It’s only a matter of time before stricter standards are enforced. Therefore, turning attention to narrowing in on gaps and limitations, firming up management systems and moving toward assurance is vital.

Reporting doesn’t stop at the point of publication. Further, the conversation should be ongoing. The reality is, sustainability professionals are exhausted by the time reports are published or disclosures are submitted, such as in the case of CDP, DJSI, GRESB or others. It’s time to re-purpose detail, which should also engage others internally, i.e. supplier/vendor contract requirements through procurement, product/service scorecards and other performance briefs through sales, onboarding and regular training through human resources, translating stories into formats a wider public can digest via the communications/community relations teams, and quarterly investor calls and financial filings through investor relations.

  •  Leveraging sustainability reports for the investment community

Investors see a strong link between ESG performance and financial performance. Positive sustainability performance sends a clear statement to investors that the company has taken the steps to assess and reduce risk, has potential for long-term value creation and improved revenue potential, instituted measures geared toward increasing efficiencies, is compliant with market expectations, has enforced effective management practices, retains and attracts a talented workforce and much more. By enhancing the awareness and the capacity of non-financial disclosure, company’s relationships with investment organizations of all types (retail investors, assets mangers, or institutional investors), will lead to gains key decision-makers have been eager to see materialize.

NEW GRI MODULES

After years of evolving the reporting practice in the United States, reporters are now asking, “What’s next?” ISOS Group’s experienced team is prepared to walk participants through ways in which they can reduce the reporting burden, and maximize the value that comes through strategic reporting efforts. Upon completion of our new set of practical modules, participants will receive global recognition directly from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). To support the next generation of reporting, the GRI Training and Coaching team, GRI’s Knowledge Unit and ISOS Group, are introducing these specialty modules for a limited period.

These modules are aimed at enhancing sustainability literacy and the skill-sets needed to leverage opportunities and competences that lead to broader brand recognition. In order to drive more purposeful reporting, modular instruction will be complemented by additional subject-matter expertise brought to you by:

eRevalue ACCO Bloomberg Glass Lewis The UNGC Corporate
- on risk identification- on tips for GHG management- on benefits of comprehensive ESG disclosure- on engaging investors as a key stakeholder- on business and the SDGs- representatives attesting to their approach

These interactive workshops are taught by working sustainability reporting professionals with in-depth knowledge of GRI and other leading global reporting frameworks including CDP, Integrated Reporting, DJSI, and the Sustainability Consortium’s (TSC) product level sustainability toolkits. A blend of instruction, individual and group exercises, guest speakers and real-world examples keeps the courses engaging and lively.

TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER: Please click here

10 Aug

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Intro to TSC Product Sustainability Toolkit

August 10, 2016 | By |

UPCOMING WEBINARS: Intro to TSC Product Sustainability Toolkit

The Sustainability Consortium is dedicated to improving sustainability of consumer products across the globe. They have created product sustainability toolkits to help in this process. So now you may be wondering what exactly are these toolkits, how do they work and who they benefit. ISOS Group is prepared to break it all down for you.

What are TSC Product Sustainability Toolkits?

These are interactive surveys that highlight the environmental and social issues that producers should focus on when working to improve the sustainability of their products. The toolkits are scientifically crafted with input from stakeholders. Fifteen key performance indicators (KPIs) are identified and used to track and measure product performance across all levels of the supply chain. The results of the survey produce a type of supplier scorecard. This scorecard helps both buyers and suppliers understand key issues and opportunities in their businesses. A company’s fifteen KPIs vary depending on product category. Currently there are 220 consumer product categories. For example, a company producing diapers in the United States will look at a different set of KPIs than a pencil manufacturer based in Guatemala because the resources and individuals that it takes to produce the products and get them to market are extremely different.

Why use TSC Toolkits? What are the benefits?
  • TSC Toolkits are a simple way to prioritize a company’s impact and drive decision-making about how to most effectively improve a company’s environmental and social footprint.
  • They create a positive impact on people and the environment.
  • Value is added from network building. TSC Toolkits engage actors throughout the supply chain, which allows more ideas to be exchanged and brings voices to the table that may otherwise not be heard.
  • The Toolkits drive business innovation, which leads to business growth.
  • More and more customers are demanding information on where and how their products are made. TSC Toolkits show company transparency, which leads to higher consumer satisfaction, trust and loyalty. These three things ultimately lead to increased revenue.  
  • Evaluating the supply chain requires a lot of data. TSC Toolkits save lots of time as they focus on the appropriate data to review.
  • Identify issues before they become issues. Toolkits help organizations recognize problems and alleviate them before they are too big to control.
  • TSC members collaborate and work together for the common good.
  • Major corporations, like Walmart and Sam’s Club, are starting to require all suppliers to monitor, manage and report on their social and environmental impact. (Wow – let’s talk about that!)
TSC, Walmart, and other Retailers

Walmart  the ‘Walmart Sustainability Index,’ which is based on the TSC Toolkit to survey its suppliers and analyze data to determine supply chain performance and formulate solutions for improvement. Every year, all of Walmart’s suppliers must report the results of their TSC Toolkit survey. Other major corporations are starting to adopt this model too and the pressure to comply is only getting stronger as this is no longer a ‘nice thing to do’, but a business imperative.

So I’m interested. Now what? What is involved?

The Toolkits are available to TSC Members and can also be purchased through the Walton College TSC Marketplace. Once you have your toolkit follow these steps:

  1. Define the product category
  2. Review relevant scientific sources
  3. Research your hotspots
  4. Discover research improvement opportunities
  5. Evaluate the evidence
  6. Design key performance indicators
  7. Hold a multi-stakeholder review
  8. Publish your Toolkit
  9. Update and revise your Toolkit

ISOS Group will be leading free webinars on the TSC Product Sustainability Toolkit:

REGISTER HERE:
YOUR LOCATIONDATES
U.S. RetailersSept 30 / 7:00 AM (PST)