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GRI Standards Archives - CSR Consulting, GRI Sustainability Reporting, External Assurance, GRI, CDP, GRESB

10 Oct

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Leverage the SDGs to improve the value of Sustainability Reporting

October 10, 2017 | By |

Leverage the SDGs to improve the value of Sustainability Reporting

By Andrew Budsock and Sebastian Richter
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We all operate in a dynamic, fast-paced environment shaped daily by changing policies, standards and management tools. With the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we entered Jeffrey Sachs’s age of sustainable development where every organization, regardless of geography, industry or size, takes on a shared responsibility. Some fear that this may add to the reporting burden since we all grapple with the process of identifying material topics, others see potential benefits from latching onto the SDGs. With an estimated $12 trillion USD resulting from revenue and saving associated with achieving the SDGs by 2030, realizing the vision for sustainable development could also make for a great business case. The SDGs explicitly recognize reporting: SDG target 12.6 encourages companies to integrate sustainability disclosure in their reporting cycles.

A practitioner’s perspective

Let us dispel some of the common myths in sustainability reporting.

GRI-based reporting is not a simple checklist exercise. Buy-in at the management level is a main success factor, yet often a struggle to leverage. Determining materiality and obtaining/managing accurate sustainability-related data needed for obtaining larger goals, take teamwork. Yet, internal barriers prevail, such as working in silos and lack of an available budget. In one of the ISOS Group-led GRI trainings last September, a participant – representing a multinational corporation – openly stated that they look at their GRI Report as a data-driven document from a compliance perspective; a rather symptomatic mindset for our field.

Taking sustainability reporting seriously means a change of management – a break from business-as-usual. It allows us to tackle sustainability issues in a managerial manner, whereas SDGs prompt us to rethink what and how to establish an organization’s sustainability roadmap.

Not everyone inside, or outside, the organization can take the time to understand the technical parameters of developing a GRI-based report. Whereas, the SDGs can be more easily spoon-fed to a busy C-Suite, communications teams looking for that next big story, investors wanting to see demonstrated traction against a global agenda or individuals hungry for issues to get behind. In that sense, both, GRI reporting and alignment to the SDGs, go hand-in-hand.

A researcher’s perspective

Another view on this subject matter does research provide the interface of evidence-based decision making. However, one of the limitations with this angle is that sustainability itself is a highly fragmented young transdisciplinary field with many interdisciplinary links and ongoing discourses. For example, scholars like Starik & Kanashiro argue that none of the conventional management theories seem to capture the comprehensive nature of sustainability and its implications; and therefore, do not sufficiently provide guidance for practitioners on individual, organizational or societal levels. A respective theory of sustainability management for instance is still in its infancy and far from mainstream organizational practices. According to a PwC survey from 2015, the majority of companies are aware of the SDGs, and almost three quarters of them are planning to respond to the goals. However, less than 15 percent of them identified the tools they need. Interestingly and despite the potential of the SDGs to help set corporate performance targets, the 2017 BSR/GlobeScan survey also found that there are companies which categorically do not intend to use the SDGs, but remain silent about possible reasonings.

So what do we as professionals do with such insights?

Possible answers
  • Yes, the SDGs are global and provide a guiding framework of 169 targets and 230 indicators, yet not every goal and target is relevant to your organization. Pick the one most relevant for you. GRI can help with that by infusing the SDGs into the materiality process upfront and then again on the back end when setting goals.
  • Follow an incremental step-by-step approach to sketching out your roadmap instead of aiming too high. Nobody expects you to jump start with a comprehensive GRI report that covers all SDGs. Like other traditional management practices, it is a process of continuous improvement.
  • Use the SDGs as a common language and engine for institutionalizing sustainability agendas, especially in the context of international operations and its workforce. GRI complements the managerial component.
    In sum, harnessing the inherent synergies of the SDGs with GRI generates a win-win situation for all of us; organizations, people and the planet – and it is doable!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT the alignment between GRI Standards and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by attending ISOS Group’s: -> GRI Standards – SDGs certified trainings

Andrew Budsock is a Communications and Social Media Consultant at ISOS Group. His thought leadership is well recognized, particularly at IMPAKTER as a Columnist and Editor, through his role as a Board Member at the Global Sourcing Council and in building momentum for the SDGs in the U.S.

Sebastian Richter is a Sustainability Consultant for Strategy & Development at ISOS Group. His multi-disciplinary and international expertise stems from years of advisory services and project management, building institutional capacities toward sustainable development on the ground in developing and developed countries.

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