Friday, May 20, 2011

My favourite sustainability reporting conference

This conference continued our tradition, as a small consulting firm who makes a big impact, of practitioner-oriented, sustainability reporting-focused annual conferences in Israel for those who are serious about sustainability and want to gain both inspiration and guidance. The conference is free of charge to all who register, and those who show up are the hard core of committed sustainability managers, consultants, activists and academics. This year, the conference was kindly hosted by Microsoft R&D Center in their fabulous auditorium earlier this week, in Herzliya, Israel.

Kevin Moss, Head of CSR, BT Americas, was the **star** of the conference. He made an ultra turbo impressive presentation of BT's Corporate Responsibility practices including reporting. He is one of the best speakers on sustainability we have hosted. Don't ask me. Ask EVERYONE who attended the conference.

The program included talks by Dov Khenin, an Israeli Member of Parliament, who has been seriously active for many years in driving social and environmental legislation, stressing the role that companies must play in creating positive impacts and being accountable, and Alona Shefer Karo, the Israel Director-General of the Ministry of the Environment, a long time activist on environmental matters, having headed up the influential environmental umbrella NGO Life and Environment for many years prior to joining the government. Alona explained how the Ministry for Protection of the Environment is demanding higher quality environmental reporting and will be using sanctions and fines and aligned mandatory reporting frameworks to ensure a step change for reporting by public companies on environmental risks. Important work.

Dr Daniel Federson of the Institute of Quality Control (IQC), a specialist standards training and auditing company, presented on the use of standards including ISO 14000 , ISO 18000 and SA8000 as drivers for sustainability.

My business partner Liad Ortar, presented on the subject of a new tool for measuring sustainability impact of companies using three local rankings.

Iris Rakovitzky, Sustainability Analyst at Beyond Business, presented the results of the Third Israeli Transparency Index, which resulted in a marginal improvement in sustainability transparency by the 100 top publicly traded companies in Israel, at 35%, which we still call FAIL. The Top Ten companies for Transparency were presented with Transparency Index certificates :)

I myself me presented on the state of Sustainability Reporting.

I have uploaded my presentation to Slideshare and you can view it here. My key points relate to navigating the many different dynamics of sustainability reporting today, with the multitude of options and developments in approaches to reporting and changes on the horizon. The big question companies should be facing today is not whether to report but HOW to report.

As this was a sustainability conference, we also ordered special waste bins for organic waste which was then used for compost (after the conference!)

All in all, this was another successful conference which provided inspiration, practical assistance, meeting of minds, meeting of people and hopefully, a platform for further growth and development of sustainability and sustainability reporting awareness and practice in Israel. The only thing we didn't provide was ice cream. Oops. Forgot to put that on the menu. Hmph. 

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices   Contact me via  on Twitter or via my business website  (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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