Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reporting awards CRRA '12: call for entries

This is the time of the year that I love in Sustainability Reporting. It's the start of the Reporting Awards, CRRA '12, now entering its fifth cycle. The CRRA have earned a global reputation as credible and authoritative awards for sustainability reporting drawing thousands of voters on a broad range of globally published Sustainability Reports. What could be more exciting that voting for great Sustainability Reports? Ha-ha. Whatever your answer, CRRA is an exciting event, culminating in a grand award ceremony for the best of the best,  drawing attention to some of the most impressive work around in Sustainability Reporting, showcasing not only the big and bold reporting efforts of leading multi-nationals but also the lesser known reports of SME's and first time reporters. I am particularly excited about CRRA '12 because this is the first year that I actually have been able to submit my own company's Sustainability Report. If you believe, as I do, that Transparency is the Key to Sustainability , then you will welcome the CRRA '12 as a platform which advances transparency and inspires companies to (better) reporting.

This year, the Call for Entries for reports published between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011 is open until October 7th 2011 and there are a limited number of slots in each category, so those wanting to assure a place in the line-up should act quickly. The numbers of report entries are limited so that voters are not overwhelmed with thousands of reports  - after all - reading and voting for reports is not the ONLY thing we will be doing until the voting closes, right ? Oh, voting closes in January 2012 and results will be announced at the Gala Ceremony in March 2012. Here is the link for submission of your report.

All reporters entering the Awards get feedback about the voting and comments on their report after the results are published. This is quite detailed showing the distribution of votes, which categories of stakeholder viewed the report and all the comments received. Take a look at a sample feedback report here. And if you have not published a report, don't worry, because CRRA is the only reporting awards event (I think) that actually offers prizes for voters and not just entrants :)

As in previous years, there are nine categories:

Best Overall Report: Voters are encouraged to consider's 5 C framework : Content, Communication, Credibility, Commitment, Comparability.
Best 1st time report: For a company’s first non-financial report. The first is always the toughest. 
Best SME report: The CRRA definition of SME (small and medium enterprise) is fewer than 250 employees and annual turnover of less than EUR50m.
Best integrated report: For the report that most successfully integrates the financial and non-financial disclosures - emphasis being on integration rather than juxtaposition.
Best Carbon Disclosure: For the best disclosure of the carbon emissions, implications for climate change, and the mitigation measures.   
Creativity in Communications: CRRA say that this award is "for a report which is a real pleasure to read, because the authors have given thought to both the content and the reader, delivering a document which is engaging and informative and not boring and unimaginative." A sustainability report which is a real pleasure to read is NOT an oxymoron. Ha-ha. 
Relevance and Materiality: This award is for the report which cuts to the chase and tells us about the material issues (ie those specific to the company performance and sector, the risks and opportunities), clearly and succinctly. A short report which gives us the relevant information should win over a blockbuster of several hundred pages.
Openness and Honesty: This award is for the report which comes clean, tells both the good and the bad news, and which convinces us that this is a balanced picture.
Credibility through Assurance: This award is a joint award for the reporting company and the external assurance body and is awarded for the assurance statement which adds the most credibility to the overall report.

However, there is one welcome addition to this year's' entry requirements. Reporters are asked to submit Key Report Highlights, to help readers get to the key differentiating points that make the report vote-worthy.

I have been pestering for years now to include a reporting award for the report which has the most mentions of ice-cream but somehow this suggestion has not been popular. I can understand that. Ten categories would be rather stretching. 

And if you want to see last year's entrants and winners, click here.
And if you want to see what I said about last year's entrants and winners, click here.

So, if you have published a Sustainability Report, worked on a Sustainability Report, assured a Sustainability Report or know a Sustainability Report which you think should have a chance of global recognition, now's the time to make sure it gets in the CRRA 12 line-up.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability 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)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Transparency is the key to Sustainability

You can't underrate transparency. It is the catalyst for driving sustainability performance. This is why sustainability reporting is so critical. Once a company makes a commitment to transparency, the rest must follow. The commitment to publish carbon emissions, employee turnover, community impacts and more leads a company to ask itself searching questions about its performance. This is why I have made made it my mission to drive awareness of the importance of corporate transparency and spend most of my time involved in activities which are connected with advancing transparency in one way or another. One of these activities is our investment in the development and publication of the Transparency Index which is now becoming a truly global comparative ranking.

We developed the Transparency Index methodology three years ago as a way of assessing the sustainability transparency level of publicly traded corporations via their corporate websites. We tested the methodology for three years in my home-base market, Israel, and have now broadened our scope to include additional countries.

The Transparency Index follows a rigorous methodology which, once determined, leaves almost no scope for judgment - the methodology defines what should sustainability information should be present on a corporation's website, following, broadly, the Global Reporting Initiative reporting framework. This includes information relating to all the sustainability dimensions that would normally be included in sustainability performance reporting. If the information or website feature is present, the company gains points. If it is not, it doesn't. That means that we can be sure of delivering a neutral, unbiased view of corporate transparency as we perform our analyses.  

Transparency Index Scoring Table

Our analysis covers four dimensions: Reporting, Content, Navigation and Accessibility. The Reporting dimension provides half the total points available. An Application Level A report, for example, earns 100 out of a total 200 points. The web-site analysis can then deliver up to an additional 100 points. The final score is an overall transparency percentage. Clearly, we make no judgment about the quality of an organization's sustainability performance - we focus on the quality of its transparency. This is because we believe that transparency is the key to improving sustainability performance. Oops, did I say that already?

Of course, you may take issue with the methodology and believe that points should be allocated with different weightings. You may even believe that the reporting element is overstated. If a company has all of  its sustainability performance on its website, why should it only get half the points? Well, we believe that the process and discipline of working towards a Sustainability Report way outweighs the publication of performance data on a website. A Sustainability Report (of good quality) ensures a comprehensive view of the entire sustainability impacts of a company, reported for one period, in one place, in a structured way. A company which produces a sustainability report and ensures that all sustainability information is easily accessible and navigable on the corporate website (without having to download the sustainability report) achieves optimum transparency in our view. As it stands, I believe The Transparency Index is the only ranking of corporate sustainability-performance website transparency in the world which is completely applicable across sectors, industries and geographies, enabling a true comparison of corporate commitment to transparency.

After having published the Transparency Index for three consecutive years in Israel (2009-2011), covering the top 100 publicly traded companies on the Tel Aviv Stock exchange, we have become expert in analyzing corporate websites and have amassed quite some data about transparency performance. In Israel, leading companies now approach us for details of our analysis of their websites and ask for advice on where to focus in order to improve transparency,  as well as publishing their transparency ranking in their own Sustainability Reports.

You can  download all the three year Israel reports from our website here.

South Africa sets a benchmark

This month we published the Transparency Index of the largest publicly traded companies in South Africa. See the full report here and the Press Release here. 

These large South African companies set a new benchmark in transparency, achieving an average of 78% (versus an average of 48% for the top 25 companies in Israel). The highest ranking was AngloGold Ashanti Ltd with 95% (though the highest ranking in Israel was Bank Hapoalim with 99%).

Ukraine joins the Transparency Index

We have been delighted to welcome the initiative of the dynamic Center for CSR Development in Ukraine to apply the Transparency Index methodology and measure the transparency level of the largest companies in Ukraine.  See the Press Release here. (a full report will follow).

The average level of transparency of the top 106 companies in Ukraine was 21% (35% for the top 100 in Israel), demonstrating that there is much work to do in both countries. DTEK, a large Ukraine energy company, achieved the highest ranking in Ukraine at 80% sustainability transparency.

Transparency Index Global Comparison

In addition to our work in Israel and South Africa, our friends in Ukraine performed a comparative analysis of thirty additional companies - ten from Russia and twenty leading global corporations.

Using the Ukraine analysis and our own analyses, we can come up with a semi-global league table which presents the top 20 companies out of the 260 + company sites analyzed:

In this top 20 so far, we have 9 South African companies, 5 global companies, 4 from Israel and one from Russia and one from Ukraine. The overall average of these leading companies for Sustainability Transparency is 88%, a very respectable benchmark for other companies to aspire to.

In the coming months, we will be adding UK, USA, Canada, India and other countries. As we grow our global transparency database, we will perform industry and sector analyses, as well as analyses relating to the sustainability content which is most widely published on websites and that which is not. At present, this information is only provided in country level reports.

Transparency is key to sustainability. Watch as the Transparency Index grows in scope and use it to influence companies toward greater transparency.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability 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)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Road Safety is a Sustainability Issue

I was driving home from my Friday morning shopping yesterday, listening to the radio. The news told of a 25 year old girl who, at 0715 am, was crossing a busy road on a pedestrian crossing and was struck by a jeep, thrown around 20 meters and killed instantly by an oncoming car. Doesn't that make you angry? Senseless loss of life because some driver was too rushed or too careless too distracted to notice a young woman in front of his windscreen. Some young girl whose family is now burdened with a tragedy that will change them forever. A young girl who had yet to make her mark on the world. Who knows how she could have touched our lives?

This young girl is not alone. She is joined by over a million people who lose their lives every year on the world's roads. Around 50 million others are, arguably, the lucky ones, that is, those who are injured in road traffic accidents but hold onto their lives. However, many of these injuries leave them permanently disabled or cause them to lose their ability to work, communicate, support their family, smile, laugh or dance. 

Road Safety is a business issue. Road Safety is a Sustainability issue. Road Safety is an Issue. Period.

More people lose their lives in traffic accidents each year, many just like the senseless murder of a 25 year old above, completely avoidable, than those affected by other disasters which make major headlines. 1,836 people died in Hurricane Katrina . 3,000 people died in the September 11 attacks. Up to 21,000 people died or are unaccounted for after the 2011 Japan earthquake.  316,000 people died in the Haiti Earthquake of 2010. 1,300,000 people die every year in road traffic accidents. This figure is taken from the Global Status of Road Safety report published by the World Health Organization in 2009. The number is possibly higher, by now, in 2011. If current trends continue, road crashes are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. A 2006 paper calls road traffic accidents: The Neglected Epidemic.

I recently published an article on entitled "Are CSR Managers complicit in 1.3 million deaths per year?" In this article, I make the case for road safety as a corporate responsibility and sustainability issue. Here's why:

It is the responsibility of companies to ensure the safety of their employees. In terms of road safety, this refers both to employees who are professional drivers for a company, employees who drive a company car or their own car to and from work and employees who are pedestrians. It is the responsibility of companies to ensure that all its employees both understand and act in a way which is safe for themselves and all other road users.

It is the responsibility of companies to do no harm in society. Employees, whether drivers or pedestrians, can cause road accidents. These accidents impact on society resulting in a tragic consequences for individuals, families and sometimes entire communities. Employers must take responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to ensure that their employees, on the job or off, are not creating unnecessary and costly damage to society through unsafe behavior on the road.

Equally, to what extent do cellphone companies share responsibility for the new phenomenon of distracted driving due to cell-phone use in cars? A WHO report published in 2011 addresses the growing risk to drivers and the public of increasing use of cellular phones while driving (both hand-held and hands-free). Are cellular companies part of the problem or should they be part of the solution? A quick look at the Vodafone 2010 Materiality Matrix shows that cellphone use while driving is not on the materiality radar.

However, 12 of Vodafone's 21 employee or contractor deaths in fatal work accidents in 2010/2011 were due to road traffic accidents. In addition, 16 members of the public died as a result of road traffic incidents involving either Vodafone’s or contractors’ vehicles or drivers. There is no reference to whether distracted driving due to cellphone use may have contributed to the deaths of these 28 people, but if I were Vodafone's CSR or HR Manager, I would be pulling out all stops to find out.

It makes eonomic sense for companies to invest in road safety. The overal economic burden of road traffic accidents is estimated at over $500 billion per year. Just think how this amount of money could be deployed to alleviate poverty, support sustainable development or improve the lives of people (who in turn become managers, employees, consumers and suppliers of businesses). But if that sounds a little too indirect, think of the fact that it costs three times as much as someone's annual salary to replace them, or the fact that loss of key employees could lead to loss of business continuity and loss of sales, or the fact that insurance premiums are higher when accident rates are higher, or the fact that significant amounts of management time are expended on dealing with the aftermaths of road traffic accidents affecting employees. Why would a business choose to ignore these costs? Wouldn't an investment in instilling a road safety culture be the more sensible (and moral) option?

Environmental damage due to road traffic accidents is significant. Crashes lead to greater pollution through fuel spills, release of different toxic chemicals into the air and may also affect local road infrastructures and biodiversity. Often, trucks carrying hazardous or harmful chemicals can cause significant environmental destruction. For example, earlier this month, a tank wagon carrying silicon tetrachloride, a strong acid, broke down on the 316 national highway in Gansu province China. The chemical leaked from the vehicle, producing large amounts of white mist after it reacted with rain. The diffused emissions damaged power supply equipment on the nearby line that runs parallel to the highway.

In addition, as a result of accidents, whole cars or parts require replacement which generates additional use of resources. Not to mention the additional resources used in ambulances, police, hospital care and so on. Has anyone calculated the environmental impact of road accidents? I believe that improving road safety would also be a great contribution to environmental stewardship.
Not paying attention to road safety of employees is, I believe, a liability for companies and an abrogation of responsibility. It could even be viewed as complicity in the perpetuation of high numbers of accidents and deaths. Like the Vodafone example above, very few companies refer to road safety in their Sustainability Reports and it is almost never listed as a material issue for the business to address.

A positive example to follow is Elbit Systems, a global defense electronics manufacturer. In Elbit Systems' 2010 Sustainability Report, the company describes its actions to embed a road safety culture. This includes participation in a government-led scheme to reduce road accidents with an ongoing Drive Differently at Work campaign. As part of this program, employees undergo road safety and awareness courses and each company vehicle carries a sticker with a hotline number that other motorists can use to complain about Elbit drivers. Recently, Elbit started installing “Green Boxes” in company cars. Like an airplane’s “black box,” this device tracks the driver’s speed, acceleration, zigzagging, brake usage etc., enabling managers to scrutinize employee driving practices for preventive training and also post-accident analysis. In a pilot program, Elbit installed "Green Boxes" in 100 company vehicles and found that the technology quickly proved its worth. Elbit has also installed a high-tech driving simulator, at great expense, for road safety training, similar to flight simulator training for pilots. Simulator training is both fun and highly effective, having been proven to reduce accident rates by up to 45 percent.

This approach by Elbit is a serious demonstration of the responsibility the company accepts for the thousands of its employees who drive company cars as well as the actions of those employees which may affect pedestrians.

In a recent chat with Darrel Rowledge, who has been working in the area of Road Accident Prevention for over 12 years, he told me that research shows that the most significant cause of accidents are "unexpected dangers", the things that happen while you are driving that you are unprepared for - people walking out into the road, rural collisions with wildlife, lost loads, fog, smoke and other unexpected events which cause accidents of varying degrees of severity. Dr Rowledge has devised a collaborative system which communicates advance warning to drivers - simulations using this system have proven to be effective in preventing collisions. 

However, technology alone will not suffice. Road Safety is the result of comprehensive attention to safety factors such as the state of roads, signage, speed regulations, vehicle safety features, car maintenance and more, requiring concerted efforts by all stakeholders including governments, car and parts manufacturers, companies and people. When it all comes down to it, however, it's the individual behind the wheel that makes the split-second decision between safety and disaster. A study by Barbara Charbotel in France showed that "road crashes during the course of work are the primary cause of occupational fatalities in most industrialized countries. They represent 20–25 percent of fatal work accidents in the United States  and 30 percent in Canada , and they are associated with significant human and economic costs. In France, nearly 40 percent of fatal work accidents are road crashes."  In the light of this, surely the time has come for CSR and Human Resources Managers in companies to ensure that they are doing everything they can to contribute to a safer world while protecting their business interests. I say it is their responsibility to do so.  

Finally, if you want to hear more about safety in general and road safety in particular, join me in a webinar  (29th September) and download a free ebook on the subject (including an article by me).

Whether you are commuting to or from work, driving around with your family or simply taking the car to the nearest ice-cream parlor, safe driving!

Disclosure: Elbit Systems is my client and I worked on the company's 2010 Sustainability Report.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability 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)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CSR is personal at Intel

We often think about CSR as companies just doing their thing. What we sometimes fail to recognize is that the CSR of companies is the sum of the actions of individuals, all working to make a contribution in what is often a very complex web of corporate, global, local, internal, external, social, environmental, business and a million other considerations. The personal experiences of people working in CSR are always interesting. No matter how many times you read a company's CSR report, there's no comparison to getting the real story from the ones who make things happen. The background, challenges and perspectives of real people telling their real stories about CSR in their company is always enlightening, informative and usually inspiring. In this particular case, I am referring to real people from Intel at a meeting with them this week which was certainly enlightening, informative and inspiring. But as most of you didn't attend the meeting, you can find Intel's 2010 CSR report here :)

The occasion of the meeting was a Round Table event in Israel for local CSR practitioners with four Intel leaders, working in the CSR terrain:

Gary Niekerk, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Intel’s Corporate Affairs
Julian Lageard, Senior Manager, Global Public Policy, EU environmental laws
Dan Doron, Director, Construction, Intel Israel
Revital Bitan, CSR Manager, Intel Israel

RtoL: Dan Doron, Gary Niekerk, Revital Bitan, Julian Lageard
Over 20 representatives from local companies attended.

My take-outs from the personal contribution of these Intel leaders discussed in this meeting are:

Plan local employee engagement with CSR issues

Dan Doron made a presentation about how Intel Israel has led an internal campaign to engage and enthuse local employees on ESG matters. This has included developing a cross-company platform ESG Forum and integrating all individual initiatives into one umbrella program, identifying section leaders and establishing a platform for planning, learning, sharing and action internally and externally, to leverage Intel's efforts with local government, non-profits and community stakeholders. A new ESG strategy has been developed and this year, Intel Israel has published a focused Environmental Report covering all environmental impacts. This has been underpinned by a branded internal communication campaign to support the ESG Forum activity and grow employee awareness for Intel Israel’s green activities.

Green never happens unless you make it happen. Employees are the lynchpin for green activity. By making ESG local, personal, planned, measured and transparent, Israel is setting itself up for success.

The CSR voice represents the external stakeholder perspective

Not everyone can be an expert in sustainability issues and not every business decision will be considered with sustainability issues in mind. Decision-makers have different experience and understanding of CSR issues, which is why the CSR voice is so important at early stages of all business decision-making. Gary Niekerk sees his part of his personal role as bringing the external reality and perspectives of stakeholders to the table at the time decisions are being made. An example is a local Intel subsidiary whose pollution control permit had lapsed and savings were to be gained by delaying the renewal, while continuing to operate entirely legally and in line with all regulations. By tabling the stakeholder perspective and the potential erosion of local stakeholder confidence should they hear that such a permit was not up to date, the CSR voice was able to ensure the decision went in favor of immediate renewal, thereby maintaining respect for stakeholder interests and heading off a potential reputation risk.

Take proactive action to clean up the supply chain

Long gone are the days when most ITC companies were vertically integrated. The development of complex supply chains with high outsourced requirements means that companies must broaden the scope of accountability and ensure they understand impacts of the supply chain on their business. One outstanding example of Intel leadership is around the issue of conflict metals. Intel purchase components which contain a range of metals which, once smelted, are not traceable back to their mined source. As Gary said, "Everyone says it comes from Rwanda! Rwanda would have to quadruple in size in order to supply all these metals attributed to it!" Intel thus embarked on a pioneering journey to a metals certification system. After visiting 25 metal smelters around the world, Intel initiated a dialogue with other players in the electronics industry to establish a standard for smelters by which the source of metals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and even gold can be guaranteed as sourced from non-conflict countries. Intel plans to publish names of certified smelters and purchase only components made with metals from these approved sources.

Regulators need educating

Julian Lageard gave an enlightening talk about his role as a public policy specialist. He is based in Brussels and has a voice in pre-decision processes relating to the formulation of new environmental regulation. Technology is changing fast and regulators are not experts. In order to develop fair, balanced but progressive and demanding legislation, European regulators need to know the issues. Regulations such as RoHS and REACH and substance restrictions in electronics such as lead and more are likely to increase in scope and intensity. We are facing a "tsunami of regulation on nano materials" for example, says Julian, as well as other themes regulating water consumption, power saving technology, fluorinated gases, emissions trading, packaging and more. Much regulation which is passed in Brussels for Europe, which now has 27 member states, may also end up becoming global legislation. It is important for a company such as Intel to ensure the legislation is developed in full knowledge of the issues. Julian's personal role is to ensure that Intel is part of sector associations which contribute knowledge of facts, issues and implications on the environment to help regulators understand CSR and sustainability concepts in order to develop the most appropriate legislation. This is a form of stakeholder engagement activity, as well as risk management, which is based on Intel being a trusted voice in the industry. And CSR is all about trust.

There were many other great insights coming out of this meeting, which local Israeli companies would do well to heed and emulate. Intel in Israel is a big player, employing over 7,000 people in 5 sites (manufacturing and development centers). Israel can definitely be described as "Intel Inside" and hopefully, Intel's CSR Leadership, engagement and transparency will catalyze a ripple effect in Israel, leading CSR strategy development by local companies.

Disclosure: Intel Israel is a client of my company, Beyond Business.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability 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)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sustainability in the cloud

I recently reviewed Workday Inc.'s 2010 Sustainability Report for Workday Inc. is a medium sized privately-owned company (with 676 people) and this is their first report. It's always nice to see companies boarding the reporting train and especially private companies. So well done to Workday!

The company is an SaaS specialist. The meaning of SaaS was the first new thing I learnt while reading the Workday report. SaaS means Software-as-a-Service, which roughly translates to computing in the cloud. And if you don't know what THAT means, then just go to Workday's report and all will be revealed. Cloud-computing is a Big Thing in sustainability. This has not gone unnoticed by the Carbon Disclosure Project who issued a report on Cloud Computing as the IT solution for the 21t Century, stating, "Through the forecast uptake of cloudcomputing, US businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 billion can achieve economy-wide savings in energy alone of $12.3 billion a year by 2020."  Workday Inc. is one of those lucky businesses which has sustainability built into the business model. So, no surprise that I say this in my review:

"There is no doubt that the owners of Workday have identified this as the core of their sustainability mission, presenting what they do as a contributor to global sustainability. The joint CEO introduction states: "So in a time when ‘going green’ is high on the priority lists of most organizations, Workday advances the cause by providing sustainable technology alternatives for our customers and demonstrating our commitment with practical programs internally." This clearly aims to position Workday's sustainability approach and ‘social mission’ as one which helps customers run their businesses more sustainably."

Nonetheless, this is not reflected especially well in the body of Workday's report:

"The Workday report contains a Materiality Analysis, which appears to have been internally developed (though the real value of a Materiality Analysis is gained when its development involves external stakeholders). However, the core business impacts on customers' sustainability are not reflected in the Materiality Analysis. The top issue is noted as privacy and data protection, followed by customer satisfaction, business continuity, talent retention, innovation, integrity, employee satisfaction, community engagement and energy efficiency – all rather generic issues. Given the discussion about helping customers run their business sustainably, I would have anticipated that Workday would prioritize reducing customers' energy consumption levels, as this represents Workday's single greatest area of impact.

However, the thinking about materiality is good practice and this has helped to inform the content of Workday's report. All terms used in the Materiality Matrix are explained, which is another nice aspect. All too often, companies present a headline Materiality Matrix without really explaining what they mean, which leads to lack of clarity about expectations and deliverables."

Workday Inc. Materiality Matrix, Sustainability Report (page 8)

More from my Workday Inc. report review:

"Workday makes a strong case for walking its own talk with several initiatives to reduce its own operational energy consumption and emissions. A comprehensive plan for virtual working, participation in the Climate Savers initiative to reduce total computing power consumption, purchasing of renewable energy credits, offsetting 100% office electricity usage, renting a LEED Silver certified building and pursuing Gold certification are good examples. Unfortunately, the company has not yet measured Scope 3 emissions which include business travel, which must be a relatively important element of overall emissions for a non-manufacturing company operating globally. Workday recognizes this and commits to ‘evaluating potential ways to capture and report on Scope Three emissions’.

Workday's employee-positive workplace practices show a range of supportive programs for employees and families (the ‘one-finger zinger’ is a great program! – look at the report to see what that means!). However, there is nothing on core Human Resources practices such as employee training and development, performance management, hiring practices, compensation practices, safety performance or aspects of embedding a business-related sustainability culture beyond the corporate Green Team. Workplace diversity remains at a declarative level, with no details, including level of women in senior roles. Talent retention, a stated material issue, is not addressed in the report. Neither are talent attraction and hiring practices which, in a business with employees in several countries, as well as many remote employees, must be a challenge. The report tends to leave an impression that Workday is a fun place to work, with a collegial team spirit and a host of non-salary benefits (Workday has been recognized as a ‘Best Place to Work’). In future reports, I would recommend providing more depth about sustainable Human Resources policies and performance in areas such as employee attraction, development, retention, turnover, absenteeism and overall employee productivity. After all, SaaS really is a knowledge business and people are key."

The review rounds off with:

"A nice touch is the 'Areas for Improvement' sections, in which specific challenges are explained together with actions that Workday is taking to address them. No company can claim to be without challenges in sustainability, stating shortfalls and specific difficulties adds to the credibility of the report.

Workday's first report is a credible effort and a great start, especially for a medium sized private company. As the company matures in its sustainability journey, the report should reflect more of the core processes which demonstrate that sustainability is truly embedded in the way Workday develops business plans, policies and delivers performance. A robust sustainability strategy with objectives, goals and targets would make sense."

Anyway, off now to continue my workday. You will be able to find me somewhere in the cloud.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability 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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