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

10 Aug


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:

U.S. RetailersSept 30 / 7:00 AM (PST)

10 Aug


External Verification sustainability reporting

August 10, 2016 | By |

UPCOMING WEBINAR: Sept 22, 2016 / 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (CT)

External Verification sustainability reporting / Big Data vs Quality Data

There is a growing trend in sustainability reporting that looks to take advantage of the external verification process. Whether reporting to CDP, GRESB, GRI, DJSI, Integrated ReportingSASB or global retailers via The Sustainability Consortium , organizations find that external assurance provides both internal and external benefits. Some of these benefits include opportunities for:

– Building organizational credibility
– Improving stakeholder trust
– Reflecting the seriousness in which the organization approaches the sustainability reporting process
– Increasing the probability of securing special project funding
– Positively influencing rating agencies and other analyst rating decisions
– Providing more reliability, accuracy and value to the entire reporting process
– Engaging higher management, Boards and employees in the reduction of sustainability-related risks
– Improving internal management systems and data quality
– Strengthening overall stakeholder communication

To work most effectively, the Assurance process should be considered as an essential component of the reporting process. That way, when crafting an annual CSR report or Questionnaire, organizations will ensure they: address the proper boundary, collect the right data, aggregate information using reliable methods, properly track supporting documentation, and rely on software solutions that are up to date with the latest industry standards, among other things.

A variety of groups including sustainability service consultancies, accountancy and engineering firms provide external assurance of non-financial reporting. When choosing the provider that is best for you, be sure the group is independent from your organization, objective, experienced in assurance practices, and knowledgeable about the subject matter presented in your report. Because there are several assurance standards, be sure to pick a provider that uses a standard that meets your organization’s needs. The AA1000 Assurance Standard is one of the most consistently used, internationally recognized standard for guiding assurance practitioners.

BIG Data vs QUALITY Data

With the increased demand for non-financial disclosure, there is clear recognition from leading reporters of the added value of external assurance – The world is demanding BIG data, but first, we need QUALITY data.

ISOS Group is one of the leading sustainability consultant agencies in the country, which caters to organizations of all sizes and across a large variety of sectors. In addition to the AA1000’s CSAP status, the team’s approach is guided by collective capabilities rooted in the ISO14064, ISAE 3000, SA8000 and key principles rooted in sustainability disclosure.

ISOS Group will be leading a free webinar on September 22 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (CT) to guide organizations through the basics of the assurance process. Register now to hear from our experts about the assurance process, challenges and best practices.


18 May


Washington State Department of Ecology, a Nucleus for Sustainability Acceleration

May 18, 2016 | By |

Key Contributors: ISOS Group & Linda Glasier-Environmental Specialist at the Washington State Department of Ecology

May, 2016—The State of Washington has developed a worldwide reputation as a hub of innovation, technology, and forward-thinking industries. A key component of that forward-thinking for many Washington organizations is sustainability.

Not just environmental sustainability, but sustainability in the broader sense of understanding the impact an organization has, and preparing for the future.

One of the leaders of this movement has been the Washington Department of Ecology. That may seem ironic, both because government agencies are not traditionally viewed as innovators and a department charged with protecting the environment might not be expected to think about sustainability in that broader sense.

Washington State Department of Ecology, a Nucleus for Sustainability Acceleration

In 2012, however, Ecology became the first state agency in the country to issue a sustainability report meeting the international Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines – the same framework used by many major companies in Washington and elsewhere to validate their sustainability and corporate social responsibility reporting. Ecology has also worked with GRI and dozens of Washington businesses to incorporate this type of reporting into their strategic plans.

According to Linda Glasier, an environmental specialist who has led Ecology’s GRI reporting project, helping businesses, organizations and other local and state agencies adopt sustainability into their thinking helps connect the state.

“Ecology believes that having a common standard for tracking, demonstrating and communicating sustainability performance makes sense for our agency,” she said. “And establishing a common framework with other groups in our state can push us to communicate better and work toward common goals.”

The first state agency in the country to issue a GRI sustainability report

The GRI Guidelines are the world’s most-widely used reporting standard for non-financial measures. There are standardized questions, metrics and an underlying quality analysis and quality check process to spur robust reporting efforts for organizations of all types.

Sustainability reporting has been adopted by academic institutions, small mom and pop businesses, and corporate titans such as Boeing, Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon Expedia, Weyerhaeuser, Starbucks and Costco.

“When companies really commit to sustainability planning and reporting as part of their strategic efforts,” Glasier said, “they go far beyond feel-good projects or altruism. They find opportunities to make their businesses more resilient, more efficient, and more profitable in a changing marketplace.”

For the Department of Ecology, measuring its own impacts on the environment and in the communities it serves obviously serves to ensure the agency walks its talk. But, with more than a thousand employees and offices across Washington, the Department faces many of the same challenges any business does, from commuting to succession planning to paying the water bill.

Washington is home to world-class organizations that are in the perfect position to be ambassadors of change. However, no one organization can go at it alone. Sustainability is a team sport, Glasier says, and we’re all on the same team.

Get a first hand look at the new GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards

We invite all Washington-based organizations interested in improving their bottom line to attend the upcoming ISOS Group-led GRI-G4 Certified Training in Tukwila, Wash., scheduled for June 8-9, 2016. The Washington Department of Ecology is hosting the training, with assistance from presenters from Alaska Airlines and Holland America.

Participants will hear first-hand how Ecology and other organizations have gone about aligning metrics to diverse stakeholder interests. Upon course completion, participants will receive globally recognized certificates from GRI.