Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Wishes

As usual, around this time of year, the #CSR Reporting Blog wishes all its followers "Happy Holidays". I think I said it best last year which I quoted from the year before. We love to recycle on the CSR Reporting Blog. Here goes. Again. 

This is a time to reflect on the joys of life and the joys of publishing Sustainability Reports. A time to be merry and indicator-driven. This is a time to eat well and edit well, engage with friends and dialogue with all stakeholders, think about what's important to you and call it material, recommit to your higher purpose, approve your reporting budget and select your reporting consultant

Usually the #CSR Reporting Blog finds an innovative and humorous way to spread holiday cheer. But there is a limit to the number of alternative ways we can find to say Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Have A Cool Yule, Ho! Ho! Ho! and such other appropriate expressions. So this year we are going to go with the very inclusive: Holiday Wishes. 

To all the #CSR Reporting Blog readers and everyone working in the #CSR and #Sustainability field to help make our world a better place, we wish you:


And to our culinary readers: Holiday Dishes!
And to our aquamarine readers: Holiday Fishes!
And to our dancing readers: Holiday Swishes!
And for our cybercrime readers: Holiday Phishes!
And to our chef readers: Holiday Quiches!
And to our dog-loving readers: Holiday Leashes!
And to our shopaholic readers: Trolleyday Wishes!
And to our young daughter readers: Dollyday Wishes!
And to our parrot-loving readers: Pollyday Wishes!
And to our tennis-playing readers: Volleyday Wishes!
And to all our readers in rainy Manchester: Brollyday Wishes!
And to all our readers who are suckers: Ice-Lollyday Wishes!
And to our slightly dumb readers: Wallyday Wishes!
And to our dog-loving readers: Collieday Wishes!
And to our mistake-making readers: Follyday Wishes!
And to our playful readers: Holiplay Wishes!
And to our LGBT readers: Holigay Wishes!
And to our pessimistic readers: Holigrey Wishes!
And to our not leaving readers: Holistay Wishes!
And to our horse-loving readers: Holihay Wishes!
And to our readers who buy beefburgers at Tesco: Holineigh Wishes!
And to our French milk-drinking readers: Holilait Wishes!
And to our religious readers: Holipray Wishes!
And to our dyslexic readers: Wolliday Hishes!

And finally, to all the CSR Reporting Blog readers who prefer to rest instead of publishing Sustainability Reports:

Holidays Forever!

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Santa's 1,750th Sustainability Report

This is the time of the year when we preview Santa's Sustainability Report. Once again, this report is a G4 report, in accordance with G4 comprehensive level. Reporting is a long Santa tradition. Check out Santa's prior reports: 

Santa's First G4 Comprehensive Sustainability Report 2013
Santa's First Integrated Financial and CSR Report 2012 
Santa's 1,747th 2011 Annual CSR Report 
Santa's 1,746th 2010 Annual CSR Report 
Santa's 1,745th 2009 Annual CSR Report

Santa Claus Inc. 2014 Sustainability Report: Leadership Message

Dear Stakeholders,

I am delighted to present our Sustainability Report for 2014 covering the way we have advanced our economic, social and environmental performance during the last year. While we are proud of what we achieved, there is much more to be done. Although we were faced with another challenging year, we were able to deliver record profits and increase our presence in more than 180 countries. At the same time, we remain true to our values and have continued to invest in our sustainability programs. 

This is just one example of our commitment to recycling. The first paragraph of this opening letter was copied from most other sustainability reports. Why create your own opening letter when recycling others will do? 

However, I do feel the need to be a little more specific about Santa Claus Inc.'s progress in 2014 because it was certainly an eventful year. 2014 was the year in which we continued to do everything we always have done. Although, to be honest, I came very close to handing in my resignation in 2014. I was in the middle of costing my externalities and suddenly I realized that I hadn't accounted for absolutely all of my natural capital. I had lost thousands of CO2e emissions. "Where could they have gone?", I asked myself. And then the penny dropped. After I had picked it up, I answered. We had thrown a party for long-serving elves in the early part of the year, and had promised to offset the emissions caused by fuel-assisted sleigh travel to the venue. According to the figures I received from our Elf Transportation Manager, we offset 4,309.5 tons of CO2e by planting trees in the Sulawesi rainforest. Unfortunately, the amount of CO2e emissions we generated in getting to Sulawesi and back with all our shovels was greater than the emissions we offset. Hence our externalities are now greater than we accounted for and this created a big gap in our environmental profit and loss account. In order to close the gap, I created a special insetting program based on use of reindeer manure as fertilizer for growing muscovado sugar used to make Christmas Pudding. Unfortunately, in order to create more manure, we had to feed the reindeer triple quantities of food and this further exacerbated our externality accounting gap. In the end, I decided that I would not longer account for externalities and revised our accounts to include only internalities. All our reindeer are now on diets and our environmental profit and loss account is in the black. In addition, we are promoting sugarless Christmas Pudding as a healthy alternative to counter growing levels of obesity which is a pressing world problem.   

Business developments
During 2014, Santa Claus Inc. made record profits due to the culmination of several trends we have been seeing during the past few years, and our ability to capitalize on these trends:

More toys: More parents are giving more toys to compensate for bad parenting habits. Not only this, but the toys that parents are purchasing are higher in value. Whereas battery-operated Daleks and a Barbie Dolls were the most popular toys some years ago, today, Sony Playstations, iPads, tablets and lifetime supplies of retalin are today's most popular gifts.

More Chinese: As purchasing parity in Asian markets is increasing and disposable income in China is approaching that of Western standards, we are seeing a rise in Christmas gifts which are now given in addition to Chinese New Year gifts. In order to cope with this demand, we have set up a special Santa station in Shanghai, with a locally relevant Santa image holding chopsticks. To get into the spirit of things, we started importing chow mein in to Lapland. We don't serve it for breakfast but you should see our chopstick technique.

More eco: As the IPCC continues to predict our planetary predicament with greater science-based certainty, we understand the importance of going green. This year, we distributed only green toys. Barbie now has a green face but there is a limit to how many toys we could convert to green. We therefore substituted many toys with artificial lawns. The kids love it. Instead of playing in the home, they can now play outside on a lawn and enjoy breathing polluted air.

All of this has had a positive impact on our business results and we had our most profitable year in 2014. We are looking to creating shared value, aligning with future trends and adopting the new post-2015 agenda global sustainability goals. We are sure that, as the only truly globally positive corporation, we can make a difference where it counts. And make even more profit.

Stakeholder Engagement
This is the year that we decided to really push the boat out on stakeholder engagement after listening to the webinar organized by the 2degreesnetwork that included prominent practitioners and thought-leaders.  We really wanted to engage with our stakeholders and hear what they are saying about the way we do business and how it affects them. Of course, we used the most popular stakeholder engagement tool, SurveyMonkey. We emailed our questionnaire to all our stakeholders around the world. Basically this is the entire population. We received 34 responses of which 14 were incomplete so we discounted them. Of the 20 complete responses that we received (19 were filled in by me and one by my mother), all confirmed that the most important contribution we can make was to improve Santa well-being and long-term prosperity. We therefore updated our materiality matrix to include this one issue, and have developed a strategy to improve our performance in this area with a target to ensure Santa lives in luxury for the rest of his natural life. You can help make this happen. Send your (large) cash donations to the Santa Claus Materiality Fund via the CSR-Reporting Blog. Do it NOW! 

Elf Healf and Safety
This year, in our Elf Healf and Safety Program, we had all our elves vaccinated against the Elfbola virus at great expense to the Santa Claus Inc. Healf and Safety Fund, despite the fact that we paid only half-price for the vaccine which is still in experimental stages. 9,000 elves were vaccinated and 3,411 developed full-blown Elfbola symptoms as a result of the vaccination. As the symptoms are extremely similar to those associated with imbibing excessive quantities of alcohol, which is considered fairly normal for many of our elves, we didn't actually realize that the vaccines were causing the problem until the affected elves didn't show up for work. Once we realized this, we continued the vaccination program because, actually, having the elves off sick is a good way to cut our labor costs which have been rising over the past few years due to aggressive demands from the elf union - the National Elf Representation Directorate  (NERD). We therefore continued to vaccinate a further 15,000 elves and 5,000 more got sick. This is such a positive program that we are considering sabotaging further research into Elfbola prevention and cure, so that we can reduce our labor costs every year without NERD complaints.   

Elf Future Leaders Program
As a leader in global elf employment, and an organization that takes investment in elf talent extremely seriously, we continue to find new ways to raise the awareness, motivation, commitment and capabilities of our elves in all matters regarding good elf citizenship and saving the planet. This year, we created an innovative program for high-potential elf talent - the Sustainability Elf Well-being Empowerment Retreat (SEWER). The program teaches elves all about sustainability principles during a five-day program in which they are fully immersed in the SEWER. After they complete the program, they become SEWER champions and are accountable for advancing sustainability in our organization. Unfortunately, not all elves made it out of the SEWER with acceptable results and were required to take the retreat once again. Regrettably, we realized that, for some elves, being in the SEWER was actually preferable to coming to work (due to the free unlimited supply of ice cream), and they deliberately failed the SEWER test in order to go back again. Therefore, we took a decision to cease sending elves to the SEWER for a second time and now, if they fail the SEWER test, we send them to the Don't Underestimate Materiality Program (DUMP).

Gender Optimization
We were planning a program for all Santa Claus Inc. female elf employees to be able to freeze eggs and give birth when they are at pensionable age. But we were influenced by the article by Crane and Matten about the problematic ways in which this plays out for women who work at Apple and Facebook. So we decided to take a different route. At Santa Claus Industries Inc., we offer to freeze any body part and even full DNA so that female employees can clone themselves as soon as they start to feel that a new body would be in order, without even missing a single day of work. We have created a special deep-freeze store room for frozen parts and pieces, and hundreds of female elves have already started to create their own stocks of self-parts for future use. Furthermore, we have established a mix'n'match option, so that female elves can swap body cells and parts among themselves, in order to create new bodies that are made up of only the best bits. In fact, this has been so popular that many of our female elves have already started putting this into practice. 43% of our female elves are now not recognizable as their former selves and 24% of them resemble Britney Spears.

Photo credit:

Reindeer Rights
Unfortunately, our reindeer workforce halted work for three weeks in strike action before the Christmas rush this year as traces of reindeer meat was found in frozen 100% beefburgers marketed by a leading retail chain, mentioning no names but every little helps. Our reindeer were so outraged that their meat was being passed off as cheapo beefburgers that they created a global protest campaign on social media. The Reindeer Protection Committee set up a Meat And Nutrition Undermining Reindeer Ethics (MANURE) campaign where reindeer were asked to post a video of themselves pouring a bucket of frozen beefburgers over their heads and challenging three other reindeer to do the same thing. This quickly went viral. Thousands of reindeer participated. Unfortunately, given that packets of frozen beefburgers are actually quite heavy, most of the participating reindeer ended up in hospital with concussion and beefburger lacerations. This disrupted workflows completely and by the time we were ready to do the Christmas Eve rounds, half the reindeer workforce was incapacitated. However, the campaign was a resounding success and now, only horsemeat finds its way into beefburgers.

Partnering for Quality of Life 
In 2014, we engaged in our first Public Private Partnership to advance world prosperity. We joined forces with the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, Oxfam, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and government agencies of several emerging market countries to help enrich the quality of life for disadvantaged children. The program provides a personally-inscribed Christmas Book from Santa on Christmas Eve for every single child between the ages of four and four and a half. As partners in this program, we created a special Christmas Book, signed by Santa, which describes the way Santa Claus has contributed to the spread of goodwill and cheer during the festive season in different ways around the world over thousands of years. The book is inspirational and includes quizzes and fun activities for the children. I wrote it myself in Laplandish and used Bing to translate it into English and all other languages. Regrettably, Bing translation is not so accurate and most of the books were returned due to profanities in local languages, and other odd turns of phrase. For example, "Santa brings love and affection into people's homes" was translated as "Santa opened a new home-based brothel initiative", and "Santa gave up everything to devote his life to making children happy" was translated as "Santa went bankrupt after being accused of child molestation." After recalling all the books, all our partners in the program decided to back out and we were left with several million copies crowding out our warehouses in Lapland. To avoid sending the books to landfill, we held a big open bonfire over several days to keep people warm in the freezing Lapland winter. This melted all the local ice and caused a tidal wave which precipitated floods in the Baltic Sea which drowned out most of Sweden and the Baltic Countries and all their inhabitants. Although, socially, this was a big disaster, we can take credit for immediately reducing the world's population by 15 million people and easing the environmental resource burden on the planet. In this way, even without the Santa book, we contributed to enriching the quality of life for everyone else. 

Crowdsourcing through Kickstarter
This year, instead of sourcing our toys through conventional channels, we decided to exploit the opportunities of the digital world and set up a Toy Sourcing Project through Kickstarter which is a vibrant community of people working together to bring new things to life. We asked citizens of the world to pledge money to support the cost of this year's global Christmas Gift burden. We were overwhelmed at the response. In addition to money, people sent used sleighs, second-hand elf socks and thermal vests, used cellphones, first aid kits for frostbite and chimney burns and a range of used board games. To deal with all of this, we set up a complex sorting program using volunteer elves from the Northern Lapland region. While this was highly productive and enabled us to start a new for-profit business for sorting and upcycling trash, providing valuable employment for local elves, a new climate-smart project for our insetting initiative and profit for the Santa Claus Well-being Retirement Fund, it did not really help us meet our global toy demand for 2014. Next year we will create a more specific Kickstarter project asking for funds to support local volunteer-based toy assembly workshops in 143 countries. We figure that if we can get the children involved as volunteers in making the toys that they will eventually receive on Christmas Eve, we will save sourcing and logistics costs while providing meaningful volunteer work for million of under-age vandals, thereby solving some of the world's most pressing problems in one fell swoop. 

Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption
In 2014, we updated our Santa Claus Inc. Code of Conduct. We have included a clause that prohibits elves from taking or receiving gifts. Unfortunately, as most of the work of the elves involves distributing gifts, we had to discipline all our elf population for breach of our Code of Conduct. Disciplinary action included unpaid overtime, special Santa duty rostas (making coffee for Santa, combing Santa's beard and giving Santa neck massages) and donating half their elf monthly salary to the Santa Claus Well-being Retirement Fund. As a result, the update to our Code of Conduct was highly profitable and we are now considering adding another clause that prohibits breathing at work. 

Fighting Counterfeit Santas
We have been particularly disturbed this year by the growing instances of counterfeit Santa Claus dolls available on the market. We have an army of elves gainfully employed in the manufacture of life-size Santa Claus lookalike dolls here in Lapland and they are all modeled on me. Every doll is unique and captures my exact facial expressions and body position at the time of manufacture. I have to pose for days on end in order to allow the elves to capture the exact position of my arms, legs, eyebrows, and eyeballs. Fortunately, the dolls do not emit sound as on Thursdays, I pose for doll-modelling after our regular Thursday very large lunch of baked beans, a rare delicacy in Lapland. When this happens, all the elves wear earplugs and nose-grips so that their creative talents are not interrupted by unwelcome sounds and smells over which I have no control. The elves suggested we produce a Santa Claus Total Reality Doll version, as a special edition, and we had just begun to work on this when, to our surprise, we noticed the Talking Naughty Farting Santa Doll available on for $12.95. We believe this is in direct violation of our Santa Products registration rights and have taken out an injunction to prevent further sales. In the meantime, if you really want to hear Santa fart, you are invited to Lapland after lunch any Thursday. After this experience, Santa will have a whole new meaning for you and your family.

Disowning Santa Impersonations
Another worrying trend continues this year with people getting dressed up as Santa Claus in order to stage protests of one form or another. This year it was a crowd of Santa impersonators protesting at trade deals between Europe and the U.S. The TIPP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations are getting people worried and it seems that dressing up as Santa Claus helps get the message through. While some might find this mildly flattering, I wish to assure Santa lovers and supporters everywhere that Santa does not take part in protests, lobbying, activism, public campaigns for political change or mass demonstrations of any sort. Protesting trade agreements in the name of Santa is not-acceptable. But, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We are now planning to stage an even bigger protest campaign of our own by delivering a six-pack of Coca Cola  to all world leaders with the message: Santa: the Real Thing. The six-packs are set to self-destruct causing a fair amount of damage if a Santa impersonation is detected within the vicinity.

In addition, we have also witnessed a rise in the unauthorized use of the Santa name in campaigns such as #TextSantaKodakMoment where celebs take a picture that has something to do with Santa and Christmas and post it on the internet in order to drive charitable donations. We have no wish to spoil everyone's fun, and if the donations were routed to the Santa Claus Well-being Retirement Fund we would have no objection. As it stands, however, Santa Claus has not agreed to be part of these celeb moments and we are considering recourse to illegal action if such campaigns continue.

Awards Received
Every year, we are delighted to be acknowledged by our stakeholders for the (very) positive contribution we make to the world and we love accepting the many awards that are bestowed upon our organization and its people. In 2014, we were honored to receive many awards: 

First Prize for the Best Workplace in Lapland: Our elves feel extremely privileged to work for Santa Claus Inc. Not only have we had no unfair dismissal complaints for three consecutive years, nor have (almost) any elves committed suicide, the results of our employee survey shows that elves are 46% engaged, 51% committed and 57% supportive of our mission, vision and values. 99% of elves believe we make a positive contribution to world peace, but only after we agreed to supplement survey month pay-packets with double wages for positive responses to this question. Still, I am sure they believe it. 

Lapland's Chamber of Business Most Profitable Company Award for 2013: We don't make a lot of profit, but we do make more than any other business in Lapland, being by far the largest corporation and employer in the region. The Chamber of Business recognized this, as our membership is dependent upon our donating a portion of our profits to the Chamber, This year, our donation funded new thermally lined ear-muffs for all Chamber officials as well as a year's supply of Santa Claus Inclusive Woolly Socks for One-Legged People. 

The 2013 Universal Award for the Most Eco-efficient Christmas Gift Distribution System: This award was particularly important to us, given our efforts to move to hybrid sleigh distribution with part-animal, part-electric reindeer, and our new solar powered robot elves. We have moved to green energy for all of our toy assembly operations and we have found a way to turn the Lapland snow into biogas to fuel our office generator. It doesn't generate much heat but it gets the elves shoveling snow away from our sleigh runways. 

The Global Award for the Best G4 Sustainability Report of 2013. We were honored to receive this award for the best G4 sustainability report, reflecting our material issues with focus, clarity and relevant transparency. It is no surprise that we won this award. Dr. Sustainability gave us some great tips! 

Feedback on this report
We will be happy to receive your feedback on this report, as long as it's positive.

In the meantime....

 We Wish You and Everyone in the World a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at to help make your G4 reporting  even better. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

USA:9 first-time G4 reports

And here we are, in the U.S. Following my post on 16 first-time G4 reporters in Belgium, that may have been a surprise to some of you, here is a more modest collection of first-time G4 reporters coming out of the U.S. Here follows a selection of 9 U.S reports - all first time reports and all in accordance with G4 (core or comprehensive). This is out of a total of more than 50 G4 reports published in the U.S. in 2014, according to the GRI Sustainability Disclosure database

AMN Healthcare: AMN Healthcare is a leader in healthcare workforce solutions, and the largest healthcare staffing company in the U.S., employing almost 2,000 people. 17 material issues are defined and the company reports against 18 performance indicators. Materiality, for the purposes of this inaugural report, AMN says, is limited to areas directly under operational control. This means, I guess, that AMN is looking at its people and services and how they are managed, as a first stage, rather than the outcomes of the contribution that AMN makes in healthcare quality across the U.S. The report opens with a good overview of the trends in the industry - identifying both the risks and opportunities. Material issues are explained and the company's approach is described. However, there is a little disconnect between what's material and the performance measures that support the management approach - for example - business loyalty is a material issue and relates to customer retention. However, AMN does not offer a metric specifically related to this. Similarly, there is a shortage of relevant context in some areas, for example, AMN claims ongoing improvement in health claims as proof that the company's approach to health and wellness is working. This is really great. Some sense of context - how this level of claims stacks up against the sector or other companies would help us understand whether this is good performance relative to industry practice and norms. Overall, though, this is a credible first-report from AMN that demonstrates positive practice and intention. 

Axalta Coating Systems: Axalta provides paints and coatings to a range of industrial customers. The company's liquid and powder coating brands are sold in more than 130 countries, produced in 35 manufacturing centers on six continents and supported by seven research and development centers. Axalta employs more than 12,000 people. The report is a 74 pager, with slight marketing overtones, and a separate GRI Content Index downloadable from Axalta's sustainability website. Interestingly, the list of Axalta's 11 most material issues appears right at the end of the report, on page 70, although the company maintains that these issues "informed the structure and content" of the report. By and large, this seems to have worked, although there are issues for which Axalta has not yet formulated a position or organized itself to collect data. Axalta reports against 31 performance indicators although the link between performance indicators and material impacts is not entirely clear at all times. Axalta admits what is a frequent dilema for G4 reporting companies: material aspects that do not have "pre-defined GRI indicators". In these cases, Axalta has described its approach. In future, Axalta could develop a company metric to support managing and reporting performance on these issues. Overall, another credible report.  

Cigna: Cigna is a global health service company with products and services provided through a range of subsidiary companies. Cigna's products include healthcare services and insurance. Cigna operates in 30 countries with 80 million customer relationships throughout the world and 35,000 employees worldwide. Cigna's first report is an 88 pager (including 13 pages of GRI Content Index). Cigna has selected 17 Material Aspects from the GRI table of Aspects, and reports against 24 performance indicators. However, in the process describing stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment, the four issues that appear to be most significant to internal and external stakeholders are four sub-areas relating to healthcare. These issues appear as the focus of Cigna's charitable and foundation-supported activities but do not seem to link directly to the core business approach of Cigna. One of these, for example, is health equity. This is well discussed in the Cigna report - good contextual information and a detailed description of how Cigna is adressing this issue through its core business. Health equity, however, is not really counted as a material impact or as a performance indicator. I think this is one of the inherent problems as companies try to fit their reporting into the G4 framework - there are some issues that just don't fit and companies need to find their own way of reflecting these issues effectively. In this case, it seems that Cigna has a great understanding of what's important, good focus and a strategic approach. The G4 framework could be used more effectively to help reflect this. 

Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA): This is a solid first report from the Indianapolis Airport Authority which is a municipal corporation established in 1962. The IAA operates in central Indiana with main offices in Indianapolis. Including the Indianapolis International Airport, the IAA currently owns, develops, and operates six airports in the Indianapolis area, employing approximately 450 people. For the second consecutive year and third time overall, the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) was recognized as the best airport in North America by Airports Council International. IND was also named best airport in North America for 2012 and 2010 and has been ranked in the top three airports in North America in every year since. Hopefully, the focus on sustainability has supported IND's positioning here :). The report is a simple word-format compilation of 70 pages. Material issues are not specifically listed, but the GRI Content Index references 24 material Aspects are 41 performance indicators. The material Aspects are picked from the GRI predefined table of Aspects and the report narrative does not prioritize these issues. The content for the report was selected using an internal survey of employees. For the future, IAA offers to include broader stakeholder input based on responses to a SurveyMonkey survey which is available online. However, the survey is elementary, listing the full G4 Aspect list, with no real background or explanation. I doubt responses to this survey will be of any real value to IAA. On the other hand, I do feel that the IAA deserves recognition for making efforts toward greater transparency and engagement. This is a genuine and credible, if a little clumsy, attempt at reporting that does not really exploit the opportunity of G4. However, I am sure that, with the right leadership and processes, IAA will mature into a better reporter, based on deeper embedding of sustainability practices and realization of the value this brings. 

Murphy Warehouse Company: Murphy is a full-service supply chain logistics business based in Minnesota and employing around 180 people. It's a family-owned business that was founded in 1904 with "a horse and a wagon" and is currently managed by President and CEO, Richard T. Murphy Jr who is a fourth generation Murphy family member. The company, and its report, oozes genuine family values and spirit and the accomplishments of this small-sized enterprise in the area of sustainability are impressive, in a way which appears to truly reflect a business approach and not just a nice-to-have. In fact, Murphy is one of the few first-time G4 reports that I have come across so far that actually defines a focused set of materially important issues and a set of  targets.

On the other hand, Murphy's use of the G4 framework is rather ingenuous and, although the report itself is a great 20 page review of performance and activities, largely focusing on the identified material impacts of this business, there are inconsistencies in the use of G4. For example, the separate 12-page GRI Content Index lists every single core disclosure, DMA and performance indicator, but in several cases, inadequate responses are provided. Murphy maintains that the report was externally assured but no assurance statement is available and it is not clear exactly what was assured and how. The GRI Content Index omits the obligatory "assurance" column so this is rather obtuse. The link between material impacts and G4 disclosures is not always quite clear, for example, "Materials and Resources" is noted as a material impact. A Disclosure on Management Approach statement appears in the report. But responses to the two possible performance indicators relating to this material impact - G4-EN1 and EN2- are "Murphy does not report on this indicator. Murphy is a service company that does not manufacture a product."  Go figure. Overall, however, I like the Murphy report and I believe the company's sustainable approach. The use of G4 has not really added value, possibly because the framework was not fully understood. An SME reporter such as this could deliver a fine report without complicating life by attempting to be "in accordance" and no one would object. On the other hand, using the G4 framework does imply familiarity with it and adherence in a more consistent way. 

Newfield Exploration Company: Newfield Exploration Company (NYSE:NFX) is an independent energy company headquartered in Texas. Newfield is engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. The company is 25 years old and employs around 1,500 people. Newfield's inaugural report is both a positive example of the use of G4 and an example of the limitations of the framework. This is one of the first G4 first-time reports I have seen that actually presents a list of material impacts that was not created by box-ticking the G4 predefined list. It includes material Aspects such as: Community Safety, Well Integrity, Induced Seismicity, Hydraulic Fracturing and Community Relations, that are not G4 standardized Aspects.

Newfield notes: "Our materiality assessment identified significant topics that do not fully align with a GRI Aspect. ... We fully report on these topics; however, GRI indicators are unavailable and omissions are not applicable." This is a good approach by Newfield and shows serious consideration of the G4 framework. On the other hand, however, the company has not provided performance indicators for these material Aspects, as even if they are not predefined G4 Aspects, stating them as material requires a performance indicator that tracks what the company is doing to manage the issue.

In other respects, this is a methodically written and clear report that applied the G4 framework well. 18 material impacts are defined, and Newfield reports against 22 performance indicators (some partially, includes indicators from the Oil and Gas Sector Disclosures), as well as additional indicators that confirm to the Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting developed by IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues), API (American Petroleum Institute)  and IOGP (International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, formerly known as OGP). Newfield also maintains an external advisory group made up of 7 expert stakeholders. This advisory group wrote a commentary for the report, including recommendations, something I find to be good practice. Newfield's report is a good example of the use of G4 for a first-timer, and appears to be in line with the spirit of G4 and not just the letter.

Simple Green (Sunshine Makers, Inc.): Simple Green is the brand of Sunshine Makers, a privately-owned family company founded over 39 ago by the father of Bruce FaBrizio who runs the company today. The company developed a biodegradable, not-toxic, non-flammable, non-abrasive cleaning formula and now sells environmentally friendly cleaning products in 41 countries, manufactured in 11 facilities worldwide. Sunshine Makers employs 59 people directly and works with a network of partners for distribution. Sunshine Makers also founded EGBAR (“Everything’s Gonna Be All Right”), a non-profit foundation for environmental education and community improvement projects.

Simple Green's Value Chain
Simple Green's report is impressive. It's nicely designed, well-structured and reflects a strong sense of sustainability culture and practice, not specifically created in order to write a report, but something that has flown out of the spirit of the founding family and extends throughout the entire value chain. It does not shy away from admitting areas of activity that the company has not yet managed to address, and transparently reports outcomes of a more structured stakeholder engagement process conducted for the first time in 2013.

Simple Green identifies 14 material topics and reports against 34 performance indicators. The company makes it clear how it selected the material content for this inaugural report in a way which I find to be transparent and credible: "The content of this report was defined by multiple elements. They included (1) availability of data for the reporting period, (2) our current understanding of our value chain, (3) discussion with our stakeholders, (4) surveys of our stakeholders, (5) an aspect-impact analysis and (6) a materiality assessment."

The report contains targets for environmental impacts and is assured for all general and some performance indicators. All in all, a very professional, interesting and mature first report. As you can probably see from the number of photos I clipped from the report, I liked this one best of all the U.S. first timers. 

Whitewave Foods: The WhiteWave Foods Company "is working to change the way the world eats for the better." Prior to 2013, WhiteWave Foods was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dean Foods but from July 2013 the company became completely independent.  White Wave brands in the U.S. includes Silk® plant-based foods and beverages, International Delight® and LAND O’LAKES® coffee creamers and beverages, and Horizon Organic® premium dairy products. In Europe, Alpro® and Provamel®, offer plant-based nutrition food and beverage products. The company employs almost 2,000 people. 

This 58 page report defines 17 material topics and reports against 24 performance indicators from G4 and from the Food and Beverage Sector Disclosures. One of the nice things about this report is the clear connection between material topics and the performance indicators that support them. It's absolutely clear that what's material is measured. This is the spirit of G4 and hardly any of the first-time G4 reporters I have seen have done this explicitly. It makes like much easier and clearer for report users. 

Aside from this, the report provides a good overview of how WhiteWave is operating responsibly and advancing organic and plant-based food products to support healthy lifestyles. What I am missing, though, in this report, is a sense of whether this is actually changing markets and consumer perceptions and behaviors. Despite a nice value chain graphic.....

... this report stays largely at the front end ... when it gets to consumer use and impacts on consumers, I find the WhiteWave report less informative. WhiteWave writes: "Today, nutritious dairy alternatives made from soy, almonds, coconut, rice and hazelnuts are a huge and growing category, embraced by millions for their health and sustainability benefits." I'd have welcomed a little more context here .. How rapidly is the market growing? What are the challenges of providing such alternatives to mainstream consumers? Is this a niche market and if so, why? What are the scientific health benefits of WhiteWave's alternative food products and what impact could this have on health and wellbeing in society? etc. This is the real sustainability story of WhiteWave and I am wondering why changing consumer perceptions and practices in relation to healthy eating and the value of alternative food products is not material for WhiteWave. As it stands, however, the company tells a great story in a well-put-together first-time G4 report. 

UniGroup, Inc.: UniGroup is a $1.6 billion transportation company headquartered in Missouri. UniGroup and its subsidiaries provide services under a range of brands including United Van Lines, Mayflower Transit, United Containers, Mayflower Containers, UniGroup Logistics, UniGroup Relocation and more. The group has 903 employees in the U.S.  

UniGroup's report is a simple no-frills word-format 35 pager with a really REALLY detailed materiality matrix that was developed internally by company staff. It contains more issues that I was able to count without getting lost, with 19 issues in the top-right (most important to everyone) quadrant.  I always wonder how companies manage to plot issues on such a matrix with such detail and whether the relative positioning of issues in such a granular way is actually helpful to anyone.  
In any case, the top three issues stand out as being emissions, customer privacy and customer health and safety. In the case of customer health and privacy, the report barely refers to this - the disclosure is all about driver safety. In the case of customer privacy, there is a short paragraph but no reponse to the performance indicator as required. In the case of emissions, the DMA is "UniGroup recognizes that the environmental impact of the emissions from those vehicles operating under our authority is material" but no data is reported against Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions, though Scope 3 emissions are recorded, though I suspect that might actually be Scope 1 emissions (fuel). 

Here we have an example of a really good effort on materiality mapping, but a disconnect in the way the report is constructed and a gap in adherence to the G4 framework. Rather than jump to G4 core, this company might have been better starting with a simpler report that reflects what it is doing, rather than trying to accommodate a more advanced approach that is driven by materiality developed through due process. The report is a good first dive into transparency and it is clear that much work and thought has gone into its production, and indeed, it projects a positive disposition towards sustainability and certain achievements in performance. I think, however, that UniGroup might have benefited from a little guidance in the preparation of this report. 


So there we have it.... 9 first-time G4 reports, all rather different and all rather unique. All challenges and all achievements. My overall impression, though, is that the use of G4 is still evolving. Rather than helping guide the way companies report, there is still a lot of "report first and then force-fit G4". I am optimistic that this will change.... second round reports, I am sure, will be a different ball-game.

In the meantime, though, we continue on our journey. Next up....

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at to help make your G4 reporting  even better.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Belgium: 16 first-time G4 reports

How easy is it to start your reporting journey with a G4 report? If you have never reported ever ever in the past, going straight to G4 could be a good approach, enabling you to cut to the chase and avoid the trial and error of ten to twenty years of reporting experience of thousands of companies. Going straight to G4 could enable first-time reporters to deliver focused reports, unburdened by prior reporting history. On the other hand, maybe G4 is more challenging than just another join-the-dots exercise and first-timers might not really get the value out of what it all really means. I decided to try and find out.

The GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database at around mid-December shows 92 first-time reporters who used G4 for their first report - 11 published in 2013 and 81 published in 2014. These first-time reporters came from 30 countries with Belgium in winning position way out in front with 16 first-time reports in accordance with G4. The U.S. delivered 8 first-time G4 reports, Columbia and Germany produced 6, and Spain, 5. All other countries produced 4 or fewer first-time reporters using G4.

In terms of sectors, there is a broad range and surprisingly, the non-profit sector delivered the highest number of first-time G4 reports with 8, but the construction sector delivered 7 reports while the construction materials sector delivered 5, so that's 12 reports with something to do with construction. The energy and real estate sectors each delivered 6 reports, and all the rest, 4 or fewer.

Naturally, I wondered how they all are doing it. Join me for the tour.

I thought we would start with Belgium, seeing that G4 for first-time reports appears at first glance to have become popular to the level of cult. 16 out of the 23 G4 reports published in Belgium in 2014 were first-timers. But only because someone had a big vision with cash support behind it. The visionary, as far as I can tell, was the European Social Fund (ESF) with an aim to drive the creation of sector "CSR passports" that would define the specific CSR challenges and issues facing companies in Belgium in each sector, and select 15 - 20 performance indicators especially relevant to each sector. Grants were awarded to consulting firms to work with sector organizations and individual companies to develop this set of issues and refine the CSR Passportד. The work involved companies in the relevant sectors publishing first Sustainability Reports using G4 guidelines. The horticulture and construction sectors came first, and several others are planned to follow. There are also some non-profit organizations that were funded as well. Sort of a Belgian SASB -style initiative, and a really great one at that. It's a very practical approach - develop a deeper understanding of what's important while actually delivering report outputs. Maybe that's a better way than just defining standards - maybe the standards should be defined through the reporting process and not separate from it. But that's another discussion. What I have stumbled on, quite by chance, in Belgium, is a really fabulous initiative that has brought many small companies onto the sustainability and reporting map. Of the 16 first time G4 reporters in Belgium, 15 appear to have been funded through European Social Fund (ESF). I have split them in to three sections for the purpose of this review.

First off, we have 7 out of the 16 first-timer Belgian reports that are simple, no-frills self-declared G4 core reports. You can find them on the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database. All reports were supported by a Belgian consultancy called Kreski in a fully-funded project of EDUplus, the Belgian agency of European Social Fund (ESF) within the context of the CSR Passport project. All reports are prepared in word format, and follow the G4 guidelines in the most basic way, providing responses to the disclosure requirements and providing the data as required. Material Aspects, for example, are not separately listed - the way to know what's material is to check what's reported in the GRI Content Index. While all these reports are rather elementary, and possibly-don't-or-just-about meet the requirements for G4 reports, the idea is great and it's inspiring to see the willingness of these small companies to participate in this project. Some reports are more detailed than others, but all follow a simple flow and deliver a minimal but credible and admirable level of transparency for a group of mainly small companies, most of which are still owned by their founders or families of the founders. Of course, as it was fully-funded, it didn't cost them money... but it did require time, effort, thought and a willingness to disclose. I hope this process was energizing for the companies involved and that reporting won't be just a flash in the pan. Now the basis is created, perhaps the second report may be easier to develop.

The 7 reports in this bunch are from companies in the agriculture, textiles and construction sectors:

Alsico Group: Alsico is a third-generation run workwear clothing company founded in 1934. Currently it employees around 4,000 people and has a turnover of around Euro 170 million. This is a 37 page report covering 14 performance indicators.

Berry Alloc: Berry Alloc is a floor and wall covering company making laminates, parquets, vinyl planks and wall panels. The company is part of the Beaulieu International Group and has around 134 employees with plants in 3 countries. This is a 46 page report covering 18 performance indicators.

Fruitbedrijf Cocquyt: This is a fourth-generation run family-owned fruit producng firm founded in the 1920s, specializing in apples, pears and cherries. Thee are 10 permanent employees, supplemented by up to 70 seasonal workers. This is a 6 page report covering 17 performance indicators.

Decospan: Decospan  a wood veneer processing company with 122 employees, family owned, founded in 1978. The company is headquartered in Belgium and has subsidiaries in 8 countries in Europe. This is a 51 page report covering 23 performance indicators and a little more substantial in terms of scope and narrative that the others in this bunch.

Elanco:  Elanco is a family firm of around 70 employees founded in 1948. The company makes work clothing, specializing in uniform shirts and blouses. This is a 6 page report covering 16 performance indicators.

TomatoMasters: This is a tomato grower, the third largest in Flanders, privately owned, founded in 2012 based on a tradition of tomato growing since 1981.  Tomato Masters has 30 employees, supplemented by seasonal workers. This is a 23 page report covering 21 performance indicators.

Van Heurck NV: A private company, manufacturer of protective workwear, founded in 1920, witha 2013 turnover of Ruro 4 million, and 307 employees (of which 91% are women). This is a 14 page report covering 25 performance indicators.

While these reports are all commendable, and possibly a good way to jump-start a reporting process, the proof of their value will be in the second reports of these companies, and potentially a visible shift in approach and integration of sustainability themes into these businesses. At this point, it looks like we have reports, but not transformation. However, so far, an impressive initiative.

Next, in addition to the two construction sector reports already mentioned above, we have 5 reports from the construction sector that bring us to a total of 12 of the 16 first-time G4 reports from Belgium. These reports are generally offer more depth and evidence of a deeper connection to sustainability practice. These reports were supported by the Belgian Federation of the Concrete Industry as a key sector influencer and player, and all reports describe stakeholder consultation with other association players in the concrete industry that has led to a definition of material issues for each.  While each report is different, they all tend to follow the G4 guidelines in an orderly way, focusing primarily on direct economic, social and environmental impacts. This is good basic reporting and it is inspiring to see such a range of fairly small companies get engaged with sustainability reporting, each in its own way within a specific sector and project context. These five construction sector CSR Passport participants are:

Dak Plus: This is a family run firm with six employees, engaged in providing roofing solutions.  This is a 62 page report, but the reason it is so long is the inclusion of around 30 pages of detailed finances including budget lines for three years. Total - radical - transparency, but maybe just a little too total. This report was was partially assured (three indicators). 12 performance indicators support the stated material issues which are defined in a materiality matrix after discussion with external stakeholders.

This looks like a nice report - my Dutch is not so great so I didn't make the effort to read it all - but it looks as though it would be quite interesting to read as it seems that this company gets what sustainability is all about. It's an impressive report for such a small outfit. It's also pleasantly designed. The plan is to report every 2 years. Let's hope Dak Plus manages to achieve this.

Kerkstoel Group: This is a family-owned concern in the construction industry which brings together a number of companies under one holding, with a total of 131 employees. The report is 36 pages and states 15 material issues and reports against 25 performance indicators.

O Beton: O Beton is a privately owned company founded in 2012 and run by its two partners. O Beton employs 16 people. This is a short G4 report of 29 well-spaced pages, defining 13 material Aspects and reporting against 19 performance indicators.

Stradus Infra: This is a manufacturer of precast concrete and customized products for public places. The company employs 271 people and is part of the international diversified building materials group, CRH.  A sustainability approach seems to be reasonably well-embedded at Stradus Infra. For example, by the end of 2014 the company plans to manufacture all its products using self-generated renewable wind and solar energy. This is a solid report of 55 pages, defining 14 material Aspects and reporting against 26 performance indicators.

By the way, I love the title of this report - even if my Dutch is not that great, it has a certain ring to it.

Wycor nv: Wycor is a maker of joinery and building finishing materials for renovation, and internal and exterior finishing. The company is a limited company owned by private investors, and employs 220 people. This is a word-format report of 64 pages, defining 16 material Aspects (of which 6 are most material) and reporting against 16 performance indicators of which two are from the Construction Sector Supplement. Three performance indicator disclosures were externally assured. A materiality matrix is presented:

I didn't take the time here to see if I could guess from these reports what might be the content of the Belgian Construction Sector CSR Passport, but with such a great collection of disclosures and dialogue within the sector, I am sure this will make for a great addition to the body of sustainability knowledge and practice.

Three more ESF-supported first-time G4 reporters from Belgium in 2014 are from the non-profit sector. These are:

Amival: Amival (Labor for the disabled) was founded in 1964 as a non-profit organization with an aim to help create meaningful and rewarding employment for people with disabilities. The organization maintains several workshops where employees with disabilities can work and deliver a useful output for society while gaining skills and self-respect. The work centers around packaging, assembly and dis-assembly of electronic products, preparing promotional items and much more. The company - a "protected workplace" - has 70 employees that support the provision of work for 400 employees with disabilities. This is an 82 page report, identifying 14 material Aspects and reporting against 16 G4 performance indicators and one other called "extra" as a self-defined performance metric. A fabulous organization and a nicely laid out report.

Bewel: Bewel is another non-profit organization that supports the creation of job opportunities for people with disabilities. The work here includes silkscreen printing, textile conditioning, packaging work, cleanroom work for medical supplies and gardening and landscape maintenance work. Bewel has 10 centers in the Limburg area of Belgium, with an employee headcount of more than 1,900, making Bewel one of the largest employees in the Limburg area. This is a 51 page report, identifying 20 material Aspects and reporting against 29 G4 performance indicators and two others called "extra" as self-defined performance metrics. This looks like a well written report with some super photos of Bewel employees.

DeWinning: De Winning is the umbrella organization for 4 non-profit organizations that share a mission to support the professional integration of individuals who encounter difficulties in entering the labor market. The group provides employment projects including vocational training, social enterprise experience and career guidance and support. Different practical activities and training programs are held at each of the four centers in this association. The report covers all four operations and is 55 pages long, identifying 16 material Aspects and reporting against 23 G4 performance indicators and two others called "extra" as self-defined performance metrics.

Finally, number 16 in our first-time G4 reporters from Belgium is from an academic institution.

Ghent University: This is a first-time G4 report of 74 pages and it seems to be well done. It starts off with an assertion that I am not sure I entirely agree with but that's probably a good subject for debate.

No doubt that educational institutions have an important role to play and its good to see UGent taking a lead role. With 41,000 students in 2013, and around 9,000 employees, this institution has a broad reach. UGent reports against 48 performance indicators. The list of material issues and the materiality process is described in an external document which I did not attempt to read (language challenges again), but there does seem to have been evidence of process in determining what to report.

Whew! After all that, my knowledge of the Dutch language has certainly improved, and I have also had lots of fun checking out how so many Belgian companies can be energized into taking part in what I can only assume was a very rewarding process. Well done to Belgium and its first-time G4 reporting leadership.

Now we are off to another country... guess where  ....

 Check it out in an upcoming post :)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at to help make your G4 reporting  even better.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Stakeholder engagement is here to stay

Stakeholder 1: I love being a stakeholder. It's so engaging.
Stakeholder 2: Yes, I agree. I love to engage.
Stakeholder 1: So, who are you engaging with these days then?
Stakeholder 2: Well, anyone who asks, really. I'm not that fussy.
Stakeholder 1: Yes, me too. I am a pro-engagement stakeholder.
Stakeholder 3: Hi guys. How's the stakeholder engagement thing going these days? I am making a killing.
Stakeholder 1: What do you mean?
Stakeholder 3: Well, I am getting invited to offer my expert opinion for a range of companies and they pay me loads of money just to tell them what I think. That's what they call engagement these days. It doesn't matter if  I use their products or services. They just want me to reply to their questions.
Stakeholder 2: But how do you give an opinion if you don't use their products?
Stakeholder 3: That's easy. I just tell them what they want to hear.
Stakeholder 1:  How do you know that?
Stakeholder 3: It's what everyone says, you know, climate change is important, treating employees well is important, ethics and integrity is important, human rights are super-important. It's not rocket science, you know. I say the same things to every company.
Stakeholder 2: But why do they ask you? I have been around far longer than you and hardly anyone asks me.
Stakeholder 3: Well, maybe you told them the truth.
Stakeholder 1:  You also have to remember that all stakeholders were not created equal. Stakeholder 3 is a real thought-leader. He has written a book. He speaks at conferences. People think he knows about companies even if he doesn't. They think it's good to have his name in the Sustainability Report.
Stakeholder 3: (blushing) Yes, not all stakeholders are equal. I admit that I enjoy all the fuss and attention. My kids stopped listening to me a long time ago. Now at least, someone is asking what I think.
Stakeholder 2: Well, I don't agree with this. I think companies shouldn't pick and choose their stakeholders. They should engage with ALL stakeholders and not discriminate.
Stakeholder 1:  And how exactly do you propose that a company does that? Some companies have millions of stakeholders.
Stakeholder 2: SurveyMonkey.
Stakeholder 3: Oh dear. If everyone starts using SurveyMonkey, I'll need to go back to teaching at the university in order to make a living.
Stakeholder 1: Oh, I am sure it's not that bad. There will always companies be that prefer to have big names in lights.
Stakeholder 3:  (blushing again) Maybe you are right. I love the lights.
Stakeholder 2:  I am thinking of sectorizing myself. You know, adding Sector Expect Stakeholder to my resume. So that companies that want a sector expert will know to come to me.
Stakeholder 1: Which sector?
Stakeholder 2: All sectors. It doesn't really matter.
Stakeholder 3: That's a great plan.
Stakeholder 1: But what if there are companies that really want to know the truth? You know, really want an honest informed opinion about their material issues to inform their sustainability strategy?
Stakeholder 3: Hahahahahahhahaha now you really made me laugh.
Stakeholder 2: Hahahahahahahahaha, me too. Not in our lifetime, buddy.
Stakeholder 1: OK, OK, I was just kidding. Stakeholder engagement is here to stay. Just like we love it.

How real is stakeholder engagement? Who is actually a stakeholder? How do companies engage with stakeholders? Whats on the cards for stakeholder engagement? Is it here to stay? And if so, what does it look like?

More on this in what promises to be a kick-ass discussion live online, hosted by 2degrees on Tuesday December 9th (next week) at 15:00 GMT. Tune in to hear and engage.. yes, engage.... with Rowland Hill (Marks and Spencer Sustainability Reporting Manager), Rachel Depree, (Sky, Senior Engagement Manager), Peter Collins (RSA Insurance Group, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility) and Oliver Hurrey of 2degrees, and myself. Check it out here and register. No powerpoints. No scripts. No pressure. Just a genuine discussion and sharing of insights and opinions on what stakeholder engagement has become, what it should be and where it's going. Approximately. It should be fun. Especially if we all disagree :-)

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of Understanding G4: the Concise guide to Next Generation Sustainability Reporting  AND  Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: Competitive Advantage Through Transparency AND CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices . Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen)  or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm).  Check out our G4 Report Expert Analysis Service - for published G4 reports or pre-publication - write to Elaine at to help make your G4 reporting  even better. 
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