Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa's 2013 G4 Sustainability Report

This year, Santa has published a G4-based Sustainability Report, in accordance with G4 comprehensive level. This follows a long tradition of sustainability reporting by Santa. Check out Santa's prior reports:

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

As usual, Santa always sends me an early copy of her annual sustainability disclosure, as she knows that the #CSR Reporting Blog is the most widely read blog anywhere that focuses on sustainability reporting. Knowing that featuring on the #CSR Reporting Blog is a privilege reserved for few reports, Santa always makes it worth our while by collecting all the toys that were not distributed to the world's children and sending them along to us on Boxing Day as a gift. This coming Boxing day, the #CSR Reporting Blog has decided not to accept these toys, but to donate them to bloggers everywhere, in return for a small postage fee. If you are a blogger, and would like to receive your free toy on Boxing Day, please make a bank transfer NOW to the #CSR Reporting Blog in the amount of $4,995. As soon as we confirm this amount has reached our account, we will dispatch your free toy. 

This year, Santa remains at the forefront of Sustainability Reporting. Last year, Santa's forefront was an Integrated Report, the first one to come out of Lapland, and the only Laplandish Integrated Report to include an Environmental Profit and Loss Balance Sheet whose bottom line was positive, meaning that the environment actually owes Santa a whole lot of money. This positive balance was due to the fact that elves multiplied carbon emission reductions achieved in Lapland by 196, the number of countries in the world, because Santa mentions all these countries in the Integrated Report as target destinations for toys delivered to kids. This exponentially increased Santa's carbon emission reductions and is perfectly credible, using methodology similar to the way the number of sustainability disclosures in Angola is calculated. In the meantime, Santa is trying to figure out how to actually get this money back from the environment, and, if all else fails, may have to ask PUMA to cough up the cash as they owe the environment around EURO 145 million based on their 2010 results. Santa's first Integrated Report for 2012 was helpful to the wider business community as it proved that the phrase "integrated reporting" is actually an oxymoron. This should go down in history as a massive benefit for humanity. It sort of equates integrated reporting to discovering that there is life on Mars. 

As Santa likes to demonstrate leadership, advanced-thinking, clear focus, sharp analytical skills, strategic visionary orientation, exceptional interpretive powers and amazing persistence, tenacity and staying power, she decided that this year's report should be written in accordance with G4. The only problem was working out what to call it. Santa consulted SOAP's CSR Report Name Generator and came up with some relevant options:

However, Santa felt that these report titles have been over-used, and decided to generate her own report title. So here it is:

Santa's 2012 G4 Sustainability Report

Chairwoman, President, CEO, CFO, and General Counsel Opening Message

As 2013 draws to a close, our work begins. With a core mission of making kids happier, while increasing the long-term sustainability and short-term profits of toy manufacturers around the world, Santa Claus Inc. is getting ready to make this Christmas the most memorable ever. With the digital divide creating gaps between those who have and those who want to have, we are giving priority to those who are disempowered by the digital divide. All they need to do is drop Santa an email, or use Santa's new IOS7 App, and tell us how the digital divide is limiting their ability to connect with the world at large and VOD at home. We will email back with the Santa Guide to Bridging the Digital Divide. This is a short 300 page manual, in two parts, which is very easy to understand, providing good advice on how to hack hot spots and divert satellite dishes.

Business-wise in 2013, Santa Claus Inc. delivered record profit levels, mainly because we achieved a higher degree of vertical disintegration, outsourcing not only our toy manufacture but also our testing procedures. In previous years, toy testing has been a major drain on our resources and over 18,000 elves were engaged in playing with all the toys we distribute to the world's children, to ensure they are safe and function in the way intended. To do this, the elves had to play with the toys in prolonged intensive sessions in which they had great fun but which usually ended up with the toys breaking or parts dropping off, or in some cases, elves choking to death. This meant that our pass-rate for acceptable toys was extremely low. In order to reduce our expenses and increase our toy pass-rate, we have transferred responsibility for toy-testing to our outsourced toy manufacturers, who are obliged to confirm toy integrity before shipping. We believe this has been an extremely positive change as our toy pass rate is now more than 100%.

Material Issues 
In line with G4 guidelines, this year, for the first time ever, we conducted a materiality analysis. We followed a process of stakeholder engagement with internal and external stakeholders, including consultation with the global sustainability guru, John Elfington, an expert in sustainable elf matters, and Jo Elfino, editor of a sustainable business newspaper for elves in the UK. 

We identified our key stakeholders as:

  1. Me, Santa Claus
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Employees (elves and reindeer)
  5. The Government of Lapland
  6. Our Bank Manager 
  7. Environmental Activists
  8. Elf Trade Unions
  9. Toy Manufacturers
  10. Toy Testers
  11. Sleigh Manufacturers
  12. Reindeer Feed Suppliers
  13. Wrapping Paper Suppliers
  14. Chimney Sweeps
  15. Santa Defense Fund Management
  16. Santa Retirement Fund Management
  17. Santa Benefits Committee
  18. Santa Protection Agency
  19. Santa Well-being Organization
  20. Santa Earn-More-Money Campaign.
Given such a long list of stakeholders we were not able to complete our stakeholder engagement program in time for our Sustainability Report and have therefore assumed we know what most people think. This assumption resulted in a comprehensive and balanced set of most material issues, which we prioritized to deliver a list of 6 main issues that our report focuses on. These are our most material issues:
  1. Improving (Urgently) Santa Compensation and Well-being
  2. Advancing Santa Recognition around the World
  3. Busting the Santa Disbelievers Movement
  4. Ensuring the Ongoing Viability of the Chimney Sweep Profession
  5. Increasing the Longevity of Elves and Reindeer
  6. Ensuring Children do not Express Dissatisfaction with Toys Received
Our new Santa Sustainability Strategy for 2050 will address these material issues and ensure we maintain our license to operate and deliver a positive net contribution for humanity including generations to come and tremendous shareholder return. 

We submitted our report to GRI for the Materiality Matters Application Level Check, but were told that the GRI team is so completely underwhelmed with the number of companies submitting their reports for the check that they are considering revising the check to a "Materiality Matters As Well" Check, reverting to confirming that reporters have simply ticked the right boxes. As we await their conclusions, we take comfort in the fact that we can now declare our report as meeting the "in accordance" requirements and no-one will tell us anything to the contrary.   

New Shared Value Services
This year, in addition to distributing toys for children around the world, we decided that Santa should become more inclusive and we therefore started marketing a Santa Adult Toy range. This includes adult toys not typically suitable for anyone under the age of 37, and no, I won't go into details. Suffice it to say that the elves toy testing team was very sorry when adult toy testing was outsourced. However, this has posed a bit of a problem. Some of the adults have the same names as their children, and in a few cases, shipments were delivered to the wrong recipient. We are currently facing litigation for damages relating to a 5 year old boy who went into shock after an inflatable life-size doll exploded in his face, and a 6 year old girl who locked herself in a pair of handcuffs and was prevented from joining Christmas dinner festivities with her family.

In 2013, in order to get closer to our stakeholders, we opened up our Santa Claus Visitor Center here in Lapland. We are now offering round-trip packages from wherever you are in the world, accompanied by travel emission offsets so that you can take your trip with a clear environmental conscience. We intended that income from offsets would support the development of renewable electricity from combustion of reindeer antlers. Unfortunately, de-antlering all our reindeer proved problematic, and we already ruined 43 chain-saws in the process. Therefore we moved to plan B, which involves cloning Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, so that we can use all those reindeer red noses to provide lighting for all our operations. As reindeer have not yet been cloned, we feel this is a fabulous example of pioneering shared value sustainability progress, and we look forward to welcoming you to our Santa Claus Visitor Lit-by-Reindeer-Noses Center sometime in 2014. Aside from knowing your visit is carbon-neutral, you will also be able to chart the history of Santa Claus using our new android app, examine reindeer droppings through the ages, see elf fashion through the centuries, taste nutritional low-salt home-made probiotic reindeer-flavor yogurt, and read all Santa's previous Sustainability Reports. While the Visitor Center targets a population with a mental age of below 15, we also welcome politicians, CEOs and government officials.   

Reindeer Rights
Last year we had three complaints from the Global Reindeer Rights Protection Association (GRRPA) claiming that we are not paying our reindeer a living wage. We responded that we pay them a wage and they are living, and therefore didn't understand the problem. In order to deflect further complaints, we entered into a collaborative relationship with the GRRPA as they address the issue of reindeer trafficking. Trafficking affects some thousands of young reindeer, who are enticed from their families at an early age with the promise of well-paying jobs delivering toys in Hollywood and Bollywood. Once in the clutches of the reindeer traffickers, they are starved, drugged, abused, stripped of all reindeer dignity and forced to give reindeer rides for toddlers in shopping malls located anywhere but Hollywood and Bollywood, after which they end up as reindeer soup in high-end restaurants. By comparison, our 23-hour work day during the 12 days of Christmas is an attractive proposition. Our collaboration with the GRRPA includes a full employee communications kit and a compilation of visually disturbing videos of dignitaries eating reindeer parts at ceremonious dinners. These communication kits are designed to help all reindeer in Santa's employ realize that they actually have an easy life and that additional requests for protection of their rights will be met with disdain. In 2013, this worked and zero complaints were submitted to the GPPRA.

Elf Empowerment
As part of our ongoing investment in elf personal and professional growth, we created a special Elf Leadership And Talent Exceptional Development (ELATED) program which includes a 360 degree assessment of elf talent, capabilities, competencies and professional and personal relationships. Over 14,000 elves have already taken the ELATED program, participating in 5 residential workshops, meetings, online support and personal coaching from a senior elf mentor. Of the 14,000 elves who took the program, 3 were found to have some leadership and talent, and as soon as they realized this, they left the company to find better-paying jobs. We have therefore decided to replace this program with a new one, called the Developing Exceptional Forward-thinking Leadership And Talented Elves (DEFLATE) which focuses on helping elves continue to do the things elves do badly. This will increase our elf retention rate and save costs, while ensuring that all kids around the world receive at least one gift at Christmas time, even if it is the wrong one and arrives in more pieces than intended. 

Ethical Supply Chain
I was very distraught this year by the fire in the Rana Plaza operation in Bangladesh. It was a major tragedy to see so many people lose their lives due to unsafe working conditions. As a result, I personally visited all our toy manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh and asked them to ensure that all workers wear safety goggles and white overalls. Safety procedures may not have improved but at least the workers look good. Further, we considered joining major apparel manufacturers in signing the new Accord on Fire and Building Safety on Bangladesh until we realized this entailed a payment of $500,000 per year. At this point, we decided that outsourced facility safety is not a material issue for Santa Claus Inc. and deleted it from our list. 

Bad News
Survey results published by in 2013 demonstrated that report readers find reports more credible if they contain bad news. I have been wracking my brain to try to come up with some bad news for this report. Santa Claus Inc. makes such a positive impact on the world and we do everything so perfectly, that bad news is just not in our lexicon, and even if it were, why on earth would I risk tarnishing our reputation so that the four people who read our report each year will find it more credible? These four people are my parents and my two daughters, and they believe anything they read anyway. 

However, as we are leaders in our field, and leaders must be responsive to stakeholder needs, here is some bad news. In 2012, we had a minor injury in our logistics operations when a fork lift truck driver elf backed into a wall. The elf sprained his right wrist on impact. He did not lose working hours and carried on driving the truck without his right wrist. The wall did not collapse and the fork-lift truck continued to operate. Nevertheless, we treated this safety incident very seriously and ran a series of elf discussions to highlight the necessity of not placing walls on fork-lift truck routes. We mapped the location of all our walls, and decided to relocate 27 walls to other positions outside the building. The bad news is that after we removed the walls, the roof collapsed, killing 32 elves and injuring another 346.  

Vote for Santa 
Even though our last report was not shortlisted in the online CRRA '14 global reporting awards, I take great interest in these online awards which advance reporting and help us learn from reporting best practice around the world. It is important to ensure that reporting remains a value adding exercise and continues to support an entire industry of specialists, as well as providing material for the CSR Reporting Blog, which so generously gives exposure to Santa's annual Sustainability Report. However, I am fairly certain that the fact that the Santa Claus Inc. 2012 report was not shortlisted is an oversight. Therefore, I suggest you vote for Santa Claus Inc.'s report anyway. Just delete the name of one of the other reports and manually add in the Santa report. We have made it our objective to achieve number one place in all reporting categories, and you can help. Please make this reporting year an even more memorable one for Santa. Double gifts for your kids in 2014 if you vote. Voting is open through January. 

Thank you for taking an interest in the Santa Claus 2012 G4 Sustainability Report. To read the entire 734 page report, please make sure you have a 100mbs broadband connection, about fourteen hours to spare and a supply of sedatives, and download it from our website. We will be happy to receive your feedback, 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, winning (CRRA'12) 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 at   or via my business website   (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

1 comment:

mama africa said...

Hope Santas travelling was also taken into account as he does a lot of mileage .,,!,
Will he be running on solar this year ?
Merry Xmas Erin , Santa and all other stakeholders in this wonderful Xmas tale ,
Africa Z

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