Monday, December 16, 2013

G4. It's a Hat Trick

I am proud to announce the publication of the third G4 CORE level report that my firm, Beyond Business Ltd, has supported this year, completing a Hat Trick of three G4 report publications in this reporting-history-landmark-month-of-December 2013. First there was GSK Romania. Then Caesars Entertainment. Now, ECI Telecom brings it home with the company's second Sustainability Report covering year 2012. 

Founded in 1961, ECI Telecom Ltd, headquartered in Israel, is a privately-owned provider of transport and access solutions for communications networks. ECI designs, develops, manufactures, markets and supports telecommunications solutions for voice, data, video and multimedia services. ECI serves over 250 customers - wireline and wireless service providers and utilities and government organizations -  in over 70 countries. At the end of 2012, ECI employed over 2,000 people in over 25 countries. 

ECI's main sustainability contribution, that has a positive impact on society, is providing the capabilities for telecoms companies to connect their customers to the worldwide web. Most users (like me) are completely oblivious to the technology and infrastructure that is required to help us watch Fast and Furious 6 on demand from the comfort of our own iPad, whatsapp our Jerusalem-in-the-snow photo collection to our friends enjoying the sunshine in Buenos Aires, singalong to Alex and Sierra's latest X Factor USA offering  which we downloaded from iTunes, check out the Golden Girls bloopers on YouTube without stopping to reload every second, or send important business files over a high-speed broadband connection without them turning up at the other end missing page 33. High-speed broadband is changing the way we live our lives in so many ways, and ECI's technology is helping the people of many countries, from Togo to Philippines, from Russia to Germany, and from anywhere to everywhere, get a piece of the action. 

ECI's sustainability communications journey started in 2009 with the publication of a first standalone Communication on Progress (COP) to the United Nations Global Compact, which was followed by another standalone COP in 2010. In 2011, ECI Telecom decided to further consolidate its reporting efforts by progressing to the more widely recognized and respected reporting framework of the GRI and delivered an Application Level B Sustainability Report. This time around, for the 2012 Sustainability Report, ECI took the step of reviewing its sustainability journey and performance, and the issues that matter, and engaged in a materiality process to support adoption of the most advanced sustainability reporting framework available, GRI's G4. 

This makes ECI Telecom the first telecoms company in the world (as far as I can tell) to report in accordance with the G4 framework, demonstrating agility, adaptability and responsiveness to stakeholder expectations which are characteristics, not only of the company's reporting approach, but also of its approach to serving its customers around the world. My personal experience of working with ECI Telecom for the past four years confirms this. I have come to know well many people in the company, including most of the executives whom I have met personally, and a wide range of other management team members. Despite the competitive challenges of the telecoms infrastructure market, and the ongoing need to review the company's structure in response to market pressures, ECI's commitment to sustainable practices has never wavered. In the Israeli context, where very few companies publish sustainability reports (Israel came in with the lowest ranking out of 41 countries for rate of reporting among the 100 largest companies in each country, in the recently published KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting for 2013), ECI Telecom stands out as a company that values accountability and transparency.   

There is a certain satisfaction I gain from supporting the evolution of a company's reporting progress. UNGC Communication on Progress reports are a mixed bunch, and not always terribly revealing. Ranging from a collection of one-pagers, which barely even respond to the description of Communication, let alone Progress, to the more sophisticated 100+ page GRI A+ full-blown sustainability reports which include a brief mention of UNGC participation, seeking out a COP is never a very safe bet. It is because ECI took a different approach, and treated the COP as an important and relevant way of communicating progress to all stakeholders, and not just filling in the UNGC online COP submission form, that the transition to a Sustainability Report was a natural next step. It is because the approach to Sustainability Reporting was not just about reporting, but more about what matters, that the transition to G4 was within early reach. 

After an internal process, ECI Telecom prioritized four categories of sustainability impacts that support the company's ongoing sustainability approach. 


Nine most material issues were selected for detailed reporting and inclusion in the G4 CORE report.

Performance highlights from the report include:
  • Major progress in auditing main suppliers in the supply chain – ten audits on key suppliers performed in 2012. 
  • Increase in customer loyalty scores from 90.8 to 91.6 
  • Second time award of the Diamond Mark by the Israeli Standards Institute for compliance to seven quality standards. 
  • 9,600 hours volunteered in the community by ECI employees.
  • 31.7% absolute energy consumption reduction between 2008 – 2012, and 31.5% reduction in corresponding carbon emissions. 
  • Waste reduction from 500 tons in 2008 to just 70 tons in 2012. 
  • New Human Rights policy published. 
  • Highest possible ranking, Platinum Plus, in local responsible business ranking in Israel. 
  • Further improvement in E-Tasc scores to 97.2.

And by now, you absolutely know what I am going to say next:
Read the report. Give feedback.

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)

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