Saturday, May 8, 2010

17 facts from #CSR reports

One of the reasons that I find Sustainability Reporting so facinating is that I learn so much about so much. Aside from the individual company processes and performance data, reports are a wealth of information about just about anything. Most often, this is information is related to an aspect of the reporting Company's business but sometimes, it can be just anything at all.  A sort of trivia geek's paradise. A "must" for aspiring winners of "Who wants to be a millionaire". In fact, if you put all the 30,000 or so reports that have been published end-to-end, extracting all the useful pieces of information, you might end up with a compact edition of the Encyclopoedia Britannica. Here are 17 examples of  useful bits of trivia you can find in Sustainability Reports.

In 2010, International Data Corporation (ID C) estimates the world will create 988 exabytes of data—18 million times the amount of information in all the books ever written. HP, 2009

25% of the world’s population already lives under water stress (less than 1700 m3/person/year). Nestle 2009

If they are plugged in, computers still consume energy (standby power) when powered off. Nikon, 2009

Every year up to 500 million people are affected by malaria and over one million die from it, mostly young children in Africa. Glaxo Smith Kline 2009

As herd animals, hogs are most comfortable moving side by side in groups. Smithfield Foods, 2008

Solidified fat is one of the biggest causes of blocked sinks and can lead to blockages in our sewers. Wessex Water plc, 2009

In the late 1960s, it was anecdotally reported in the United States that postprandial discomforts such as numbness, general weakness and palpitations occurred after eating at Chinese restaurants.Ajinomoto, 2009

Automakers are moving toward lithium-ion batteries for next-generation HEVs and for PHEVs and BEVs. These batteries have greater energy density and are lighter in weight than nickel metal hydride batteries. Ford, 2009

An estimated 776 million adults—16% of the global adult population—lack basic literacy skills. HP, 2009

In 2007 the total losses sustained by the software industry as a direct result of software piracy were in excess of $40 billion worldwide.Symantec, 2008

It is predicted that global CO2emissions can be reduced by 11 million tons in 2010 and by 120 million tons in 2020 through the expanded use of solar cells. Asahi Glass 2009

Rotavirus, a severe diarrhoeal illness, is the second biggest killer of children under five years of age.Glaxo Smith Kline 2009

An estimated $1.2 trillion is wasted annually in the U.S. healthcare system, with redundant procedures and inefficient administration cited as two of the largest reasons HP, 2009

In Japanese, the word inochi has a deep reverberation and subtle nuances. It implies a universal perspective
and worldview. Ajinomoto, 2009

Half of secondary school science teachers in the UK have had no subject training within the past five years.Glaxo Smith Kline, 2009

Agriculture employs over one-third of the world’s working population and three-quarters of the world’s poor people live in rural areas. Nestle 2009

The human tongue can distinguish the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Ajinomoto, 2009. (errrr, umami ? hmm, not sure my tongue knows what that is...)

The next time you think that reading a sustainability report is just about reading a report, remember that, if you take the time to look beyond the cover, you will find that there is more to reports than meet the reports. It can be quite an enriching experience. Ha Ha. Well, moderately enriching. Oh, and watch this space,  I might just announce a competition in the near future on CSR Report Trivia , so get swotting. NO PRIZES for guessing what the prize will be. Ahem. OK, begins with C and rhymes with FUNKY.

elaine cohen is the CEO of Beyond Business, a leading social and environmental consulting and reporting firm. Visit our website at


Steven Goldman said...

Your tongue definitely knows what umami is, even if you haven't heard the name before. It's the 5th taste sense, commonly referred to as savoriness.

Interesting list! There's a lot of great info to be culled from governmental reports as well, like those from the U.S. GAO.

elaine said...

Thank you Steven for the umami explanation. Next time I order Chunky Monkey, I will ask if they have an umami version. haha. just joking :)
And thanks for reading and commenting. I am always amazed at the little things I learn from Sustainability Reports!


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