Thursday, September 7, 2017

What Singapore stands for. [Hint: ReportingMania]

What does Singapore stand for? Prepare to be enlightened.

S is for Strawberry Cheesecake  - The favorite ice cream flavor of the 2017 Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit creator and host, Mr Rajesh Chhabara. He is making no promises that Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream will be served at the summit, but if it is, it's all for ME😀. 

Rajesh is managing director of CSRWorks International, a leading boutique sustainability consulting firm in Singapore. Deeply passionate about sustainability, Rajesh specializes in sustainability strategy, sustainability reporting, stakeholder engagement, supply chain and training. Rajesh has over 20 years of experience in sustainability in diverse industries across Asia. His sustainability strategies have helped clients win global rankings and recognition. He is an inspiration for us all and is the undisputed leader of #ReportingMania in Singapore and Asia.

I is for Insight - Two full days of #ReportingMania will fuel us with enough insights to last us a full year until the next Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit. Whether your thing is Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Reporting or regional trends in sustainability reporting regulations or dealing with inconvenient reporting topics, this summit is going to ooze with insights, all there for the taking. If you have been feeling a little short on insights after the summer break, just come along.

N is for No PowerPoint - haha -well, probably ALMOST no PowerPoint. What's wrong with PowerPoint anyway? Well, it's true that sometimes the PowerPoint becomes the conversation instead of supporting the conversation. Too many long decks with colors that blind you and words you can't read with too many long diatribes have characterized conferences since the days of Fred and Wilma. Now, in 2017, the Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit promises, yes, I know it's weird.... conversation. We will be getting past the slides and experiencing authentic voices. Rajesh talks about why this summit is different - including No PowerPoint. "First of all, this Summit is the only regional conference is Asia dedicated to sustainability reporting. The Summit will be addressed by more than 50 speakers, each one of them bringing a wealth of expertise. The Summit’s format is also unconventional. There are no boring monologues or lengthy power point presentations. Each session has been designed to have engaging panel conversations on practical topics seeking active participation from delegates. There are eight powerful masterclasses offering great choices to beginners as well as experienced reporters. In every sense, the Summit is really a unique opportunity for anyone interested in sustainability reporting."

G is for Goal - The goal of Rajesh, our conference wizard, says the 2017 Summit is just the beginning of a great journey to becoming Asia’s most engaging conversation about sustainability reporting. The goal is to make the Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit the most exciting sustainability event of the year. Rajesh promises: "Attendees can look forward to learning from top experts, sharing their own experience, exploring solutions to common challenges, understanding future trends and more importantly networking with their international peers." A worthy goal. Doesn't that make you want to be there to help make it happen? [Hint: of course.] 

A is for Always On - In Singapore, the #ReportingMania conversation will be Always On at the September summit. If you think you can come and idle around for two days, think again. No nodding off in the plenaries. No snappy snoozes in the breaks. No power naps in the restrooms. Snoring will definitely be frowned upon. It's going to be an intensive conversation and it's not going to stop until the last delegate has left (or until the ice cream runs out, whichever is earlier). For all you reporters out there, here's a chance to talk about reporting without someone saying every five minutes: "Who reads reports anyway?" (The last time someone asked me that, I said, "Who doesn't?")

P is for People - The 2017 Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit will be attended by hundreds of delegates from at least 15 countries. That's a lot of people getting excited about #ReportingMania. After all, what is sustainability reporting about if it's not about people? Most of us think a sustainability report is some sort of publication. But it's not only that. It's the culmination of many people performing responsibly and collaborating to tell their story. Reports are more than words on a screen. Reports are about making a difference. By people, for people.

O is for Opportunity - No sustainability conversation is complete without opportunity. Opportunity is what the visionary Rajesh Chhabara saw when he thunk up the Asia Summit. His vision in a nutshell: "As a Sustainability Consultant and Trainer, I enjoy helping businesses adopt sustainability strategies to become better and smarter business. Even though sustainability reporting is relatively new to Asian businesses, an increasing number of companies have started producing sustainability reports. As such, sustainability reporting community is rapidly growing in Asia. I thought we should create a regional platform for the reporting community to come together, learn from each other, celebrate their successes and find solutions to common challenges. This is how the Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit was born. The inspiration for creating the Summit also came from the huge success of the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards or ASRA, another powerful platform we built three years ago to honor and recognize sustainability reporting leaders."

R is for Reporting - Rajesh explains: "The number of companies with no sustainability report is much larger than the companies which produce sustainability reports [in Asia] A very small number of companies chose to report on voluntary basis. In the past 2-3 years, several stock exchanges in Asia have introduced regulations requiring their listed companies to publish annual sustainability reports. Because of this there is a big surge in the number of reports from Asia. Unfortunately, sustainability reporting in Asia is mostly compliance driven, at least for now. However, there is a growing number of high quality reports, as we see every year at the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ASRA). ASRA is now recognised as Asia’s top recognition for sustainability reporting. We are seeing significant increase in the number of entries as well as in the quality of reports. Last year we received nearly 450 entries from over 100 companies from 16 countries. This year’s entries are already open and the trends are looking very strong. I am confident that the number of companies participating this year will be much higher than the last year. I would like to mention that this year’s ASRA have a new category: Asia’s Best SDG Reporting. ASRA continues to be a non-profit project with highly independent judging process."

E is for Experts - Little quiz: How many experts can you cram into a Sustainability Reporting Summit over 2 days? 10? 13? 18.34? Noooooooooooo. 50. That's how many folks will be on stage sharing their expertise with hundreds of delegates, all experts in their own right as well. So 50 plus hundreds is the right answer. But, you knew that, right. That's why you registered. Not registered? Go register.

So, by now, your have realized that S I N G A P O R E stands for #ReportingMania. Come and get some. 🌟

elaine cohen, CSR Consultant, Sustainability Reporter, former HR Professional, Trust Across America 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Ice Cream Addict, Author of three totally groundbreaking books on sustainability (see About Me page). Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen) or via my business website (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm). Need help writing your first / next Sustainability Report? Contact elaine: 

Elaine will be chairing the Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit in Singapore on 19-20 September 2017 and the edie Conference on Smarter Sustainability Reporting  in London on 27th February 2018

Monday, September 4, 2017

People Planet Play at Caesars

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been horrified (as I am sure we all have) by heartbreaking first-hand accounts of people fighting for their safety and facing the loss of their homes in Houston, Texas and the region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. I am sure we cannot begin to understand the challenges each is facing, nor the length of time it will take for the people of the area to achieve some sort of return to normal life. Our hearts go out to all those affected.

In the corporate world, many are mobilizing to provide emergency assistance and relief to the people of the area. It is no surprise to me that Caesars Entertainment was one of the first to announce support. See this post on LinkedIn:

This doesn't surprise me because I know Caesars Entertainment to be a genuinely caring company that invests in communities without hesitation all year round and not just in times of crisis. But when a crisis hits, Caesars can be counted on. I have been working with Caesars Entertainment for several years now, supporting annual citizenship reporting and other initiatives. I have had the privilege to personally engage and interact with hundreds of team members at Caesars in the U.S. and other parts of the world, from the President and CEO and senior executives to a very wide range of individuals in diverse roles. 

Without exception, I am struck every single time by the genuine passion and deep engagement of those I talk to, and their appreciation for the caring, nurturing, inclusive culture that is easily recognizable throughout the organization. Whether it's the CEO, Mark Frissora, who places employee engagement on a par with customer satisfaction and financial performance as a fundamental tent of the company's success (check out his  welcome message in the Caesars 2016-2017 Corporate Citizenship Report), or Mary Thomas, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, who says: "Our employees want to feel that our company is contributing to a better world," or a Caesars HERO (community volunteer), or a Health Wellness Nurse, or a Responsible Gaming Ambassador, or, in fact, just anyone at all, the folks at Caesars care. So it was certainly no surprise to see that Caesars is one of the first corporations out there taking action to support fellow citizens through the trauma and devastation that Hurricane Harvey has wrought. 

Which brings me back to Caesars eighth annual 2016-2017 Corporate Citizenship Report, this time under the theme of 

People Planet Play

People Planet Play is the new way Caesars is talking about citizenship and sustainability - to employees, to guests and to all of us. It's a corporate strategic framework for planning, reporting and communicating, setting out clearly what Caesars stands for as it does business. Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caesars' Executive Vice President of Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility explains:

People Planet Play enables the organization of all citizenship themes and programs under one umbrella:

So, for example, highlights for 2016 are organized in this format.

In this report, key members of the Caesars Executive team explain how this People Planet Play framework works for them and how it aligns with the vision of Caesars business development and growth in coming years. The report is written in accordance with GRI Standards, core option. More compact than prior years, it covers all key areas of progress in the past year or so, including:

Development of science-based emissions targets: For the past ten years, Caesars has set ambitious environmental intensity targets and has steadily achieved them each year. In establishing science-based targets, Caesars joins industry leaders in respecting planetary limits with absolute emissions targets through 2050.

Continued achievements in employee wellness: The Wellness Rewards program helps employees get healthier as they get older and in 2016, another year of strong participation enabled Caesars 50,000+ employees in the U.S. to feel well, save money and enjoy life. 

Ongoing leadership in Responsible Gaming: This is a core element of citizenship at Caesars, and has been for more than 25 years when Caesars developed the first industry efforts to address problem gambling among guests. Caesars continues to demonstrate leadership wherever it operates so that people who choose to take part in gaming activities can have fun doing so and know that help is at hand if this is not the case. This report includes major strides to advance responsible gaming in the UK where Caesars operates several casinos, as well as ongoing activity in the U.S.

Economic and social contribution in communities: Caesars has established strong ties within all the communities that host its properties, and makes a significant economic contribution. In addition to the >400,000 hours of community service that Caesars volunteers invested in their communities last year, Caesars distributed more than $9 billion of economic value to its stakeholders. A third-party analysis shows that contributed value by Caesars (wages, taxes and corporate giving) was almost three times the estimated average of U.S. corporations. 

Taking a public stand: As usual, Caesars doesn't shy away from speaking up for justice.  Whether it's on policy relating to LGBTQ rights or taking a stand against human trafficking, Caesars voice is where it counts. Gwen Migita, Vice President, Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship puts it like this:

(By the way, if you are heading to Singapore in September by any chance, come and join us at the Asia 2017 Sustainability Reporting Summit where Gwen will be speaking on embedding a culture of citizenship and the People Planet Play framework.)

Finally, who said sustainability reporting is not fun? Caesars 2016-2017 Citizenship Report also gives you the opportunity of a chance to win two nights at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Just by completing a super fun crossword.

Check it out, follow the instructions and you could be waking up to breakfast in Nevada. But even if crosswords are not your thing, I recommend you taking a look at this report from a clear citizenship leader in the gaming-entertainment-hospitality industry. There's much more in there that I have been able to mention in this post. As usual, send your feedback!

Disclosure: As you probably realized, I worked on this report (as well as on Caesars' prior four reports).  It's always a pleasure and honor to work with Caesars. But shucks, that makes me not eligible to enter the draw for the crossword prize.

elaine cohen, CSR Consultant, Sustainability Reporter, former HR Professional, Trust Across America 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Ice Cream Addict, Author of three totally groundbreaking books on sustainability (see About Me page). Contact me via Twitter (@elainecohen) or via my business website (Beyond Business Ltd, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm). Need help writing your first / next Sustainability Report? Contact elaine: 

Elaine will be chairing the Asia Sustainability Reporting Summit in Singapore on 19-20 September 2017 and the edie Conference on Smarter Sustainability Reporting  in London on 27th February 2018
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