Monday, December 21, 2020

Santa Claus Inc. 2020 ESGC Report

I am delighted to present a preview of Santa Claus Inc.’s ESGC (Environmental, Social, Governance and COVID) Report for the year 2020. As in past years, Santa has kindly allowed me to share her annual disclosure to all stakeholders, ESPECIALLY investors, and hopes that everyone, ESPECIALLY investors, will take a keen interest in how Santa has made a positive contribution to sustainable development; health and wellbeing; diversity, equity and inclusion; biodiversity; reducing water stress; economic prosperity and oh yes, what was that again, climate change. 

Dear Stakeholders, ESPECIALLY investors, 

2020 was a very challenging year. I am proud of what we have achieved so far, but there is much more to do. Oops. Scratch that. 2020 was the crappiest year ever, and the thought of sliding down chimneys in a face shield and splashing myself with sanitizer after every home visit continues to fill me with dread. In fact, I am so full of dread, anxiety and depression that that I have taken to consuming a snack before bedtime, in the hope that this will boost my sugar levels and regulate my hormones. Now, much more of me is full of dread as I have gained 130 lbs. in weight over the past year and I have needed to order Santa suits two sizes bigger. Due to mobility restrictions, I was not able to go to the fittings, so I had a team of elves take my measurements and send them to the Santa tailor. Unfortunately, the elves were already high with festive spirit and now it looks like I am wearing red swimsuits with furry white trim. 

Just as so many things moved to Zoom in 2020, I considered sending out all my Christmas Gifts via Zoom this year as well. However, I quickly realized this would not be possible as my Zoom account has been suspended on account of repeated offenses to their content policy. All I ever said was that I believe a harmonized ESG reporting system is not the Holy Grail that will save people and the planet, and boom, I was bumped from Zoom, LinkedIn and Facebook. Fortunately, I can still express my views on Instagram, where posting images of suckling reindeer babies, Sustainability Report covers with smiling children holding the globe and elves wrapping Christmas gifts are still allowed. Even if the elves are wearing Accountants will Not Save the Planet T-Shirts. 

Anyway, on to more positive things, as ESGC Reports must not be too depressing, or our entire financial system will collapse. Let’s start with our COVID-19 Response. 

COVID-19 Response 
Of course, no self-respecting ESGC Report can omit the obligatory COVID-19-we-are-the-greatest section. At Santa Claus Inc. we have maintained a business continuity plan for several thousand years, and in 2020, we dusted it off and put it into play. Of course, when the plan was written, there was no internet, no iPhone 12, not even an iPhone 1, no Tesla cherry-red Roadster for fast intergalactic travel and no electric reindeer. Of course, there were far fewer people on the planet needing gifts, so the overall workload was manageable. Our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) consisted of just two elements (1) Form a Task Force and (2) Make the Task Force continue the business. In 2020, we upgraded our BCP and it now includes three elements: (1) Form a Task Force and (2) Make the Task Force continue the business and (3) Make them wear masks. 

PPE: In 2020, we quickly converted our gift-wrapping factory to a PPE production station for the benefit of elves and their families all around the world. During this period, we donated to the Global Elf Association more than 2.3 million reusable face masks designed specially to fit typical elf facial features, including a special reinforced middle section to prevent piercing by those little elfy upturned noses. Unfortunately, this middle section also seriously hindered elf respiration, and to this day, we are not sure if the 34,763 elves who passed away were sick with COVID-19 or simply suffocated. We subsequently modified our design to ensure the masks are elf-safe and we even included a designer label. 
WFH: In March 2020, we instructed our elves to work from home. To facilitate this, we had to rehome many elf migrant workers who had no home to work from. This was a significant challenge but with help from Habitat for Elves, we were able to appropriate 342,202 elf homes. Unfortunately, this meant displacing the entire population of Iceland which has now moved to Mexico in the hope that the new Biden administration will reverse the immigration ban. In the meantime, we have equipped the new elf homes with all necessary PPE and conducted more than 300 Wrapping Gifts while Wearing Masks training sessions. In the early days we found many gifts that were wrapped with disposable masks while elves were seen with wrapping paper covering their mouths and noses. Oops. Another 26,458 elf fatalities. 
Social Distancing: During 2020, we practiced social distancing as guided by the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local Lapland regulation. This has been particularly hard for our reindeers, fun-loving beings who enjoy close relationships and work well in teams. Several reindeer suffered from hypertension and can now work only under sedation. Fortunately, we had enough foresight to stockpile Xanax before lockdowns started and were able to calm them all down. However, due to social distancing, our annual reindeer sleigh-pulling training was conducted virtually and was probably less effective than classroom training events. Once back at work, we planned a practice sleigh journey from Riisitunturi National Park to Pyhä-Nattanen. I think some of the reindeer were wearing masks over their eyes as we ended up in Finland, a reindeer migration destination that they can reach blindfold. All was not lost, however, as all the people of Finland received their gifts early, a large contributor, we believe, to Finland consistently being ranked as the happiest country in the world!
YOM: As you might expect, all our elf communications were conducted via Zoom starting in March 2020. We held a special all-elf mandatory unmuting training session because Santa got so sick of hearing You’re On Mute (YOM) that she wrote a special letter asking Zoom to remove the mute button from our Zoom Plan. Regrettably, Zoom was not able to do this, so we persevered. Today, I am pleased to report that we have how replaced YOM with a selection of phrases such as WCHY (We Can’t Hear You), UY (Unmute Yourself), Is your Microphone Working (IYMW) and Has the Cat Got your Tongue (HTCGYT), as well as some less publishable phrases. Now, we eventually get to hear all the elves, although, in fact, some of them should probably remain on mute their entire lifetime anyway. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 
In a year when the pandemic brought racial and social justice to the fore, and exposed the systemic inequities in our society, we at Santa Claus Inc. rose to the challenge of creating a world of reduced inequalities (SDG 10). To do this, we decided to establish a gift means test, and apply an inclusive equity formula. Therefore in 2020, everyone will receive a gift just like they always have done. Except some people will receive bigger gifts than others. Additionally, we upgraded our Plan for Elf Equity (PEE) to empower diverse elves. We formed several Elf Affinity Groups which have been a great success, including: 
Elf Out: For LGBTQIA elves 
Elf In: For elves who are not yet out 
ELF Self: For elves who are rather introvert 
ELF Healf: For elves who want to live a healthier lifestyle 
ELF Women: For elf women who want the same rights as elf men 
ELF Men: For elf men who do not want to share their rights with elf women 
ELF Shelf: For spinster elves 
ELFO: For Hispanic elves 
ELF Vets: For elves who have passed their veterinarian qualifications 

Finally, this year all elves were trained in unconscious bias, conscious inclusion, and subconscious consciousness. We can now affirm that 100% of elves are conscious. Although this was probably due to our ban on medical-grade cannabis, which, after it was legalized, became the staple elf diet. 

Climate Resilience 
As always, Santa Claus Inc. continues to endorse the Precautionary Principle, support climate change mitigation, and advance a circular economy. For the first time this year, we are publishing our disclosure in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. Here it is:
Governance: Our governance of climate risks is overseen by our Board of Directors which has assessed our key risk to be extreme weather patterns that destroy the world’s chimneys, making it impossible for Santa to continue her good work. In order to govern this effectively, the Board has established a Chimney Hole Integrity Mapping Program (CHIMP) to monitor chimneys affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, snow blockages and brick-melting high temperatures. The CHIMP Committee reports on the status of our climate resilience to the Board every year. 
Strategy: In order to effectively assess and develop our climate-risk strategy, we created 1.5, 2 and 2.5 degree scenarios based on guidance from the IPCC. In each scenario, the result was the same: the Santa Retirement Fund needs significant inputs in order to protect Santa’s heritage and long-term ice cream supply. You can donate to the Santa Retirement Fund by clicking on this link
Risks: As mentioned, our key risk is chimney integrity, and the CHIMP Committee ensures we have mitigation or alternative plans in place. For example, in China, we use hydraulic rising rickshaws to access homes. In Venice, we now access homes through underground water channels. In the U.S., we have engaged a Chimney Repair Service that is on call 24/7 over the holiday season, staffed by millions of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. We have also patented our new Santa-safe climate-proof chimney, made from 100% post-consumer recycled organic waste, that was tested in Turkey, Mexico, Iran and Alaska during 2020 earthquakes in those countries. The chimney retained its form and function and was commercialized this year. Unfortunately, the new factory we built to manufacture the Santa-safe chimney was destroyed by an earthquake, so availability is currently restricted. 
Metrics: Chimney integrity is our key metric. In 2019, it was 98.8%, unaffected by climate change. The only issue we found in a small percentage of chimneys was a concentration of combustible deposits, meaning that when Santa slides down the chimney, her posterior may set alight. This is not such a problem for Santa, as it could help burn off those extra pounds gained during COVID-19. 

Transparency, Reporting, Disclosure and ESG Metrics 
In 2020, we have been watching on the sidelines in the Metrics Wars as the Big Galactical Powerhouse Forces of ESG Metrics wage battle against the Resistance for the Greater Good of Sustainability Impacts in the fight between, on the ESG side, double dynamic materiality, interoperability and an international governing authority for sustainability reporting that would aim to make disclosures consistent, comparable and decision-useful for investors, and on the Greater Good side, accountability for impacts on people and planet and delivering the SDGs. The apparent subordination of sustainability disclosures to value creation in the ESG Metrics camp, value that is intended to trickle through to all stakeholders (excuse me while I retrieve my eyeballs), does not sit well with those in the Greater Good camp. 
At Santa Claus Inc, we take a simple view. We believe that sustainability reporting is about people not about numbers. Well, it’s also about elves and reindeers. And it’s about the gifts we give to our billions of clients that make them superhappy every festive season. And it’s about the accountability we willingly accept as an organization to ensure we live up to our values and the principles of sustainable development. 
We conducted a little bit of stakeholder engagement on our own, to inform our next double triple single sustainability materiality assessment. We asked our reindeer if they believe that a consistent standard for investor-useful ESG metrics will ensure the biodiversity required to maintain their food supply for the next 50 years. We asked our elves if a more robust universal standard for ESG metrics would ensure they are paid a living wage so they can secure their grandkids’ future. We asked our clients if they felt that a better standard of ESG metrics would ensure they receive good quality gifts, not manufactured using child labor or unsafe working conditions and not using tons of excess packaging materials. And we asked reporting companies if they felt the proposal to create a new IFRS-led Sustainability Standards Board would continue to ensure global ice cream supplies for reporters everywhere. In all cases, the response was outstandingly "errrrrr duh". Then we asked our Board of Directors if they are prepared to disclose ESG metrics against a single new investor-useful reporting system. Their response was: What’s ESG metrics? 

Unwilling to remain at the mercy of all those who think they can monetize sustainability and force-fit sustainable development into capital market competitiveness, we decided to be proactive. We have created a new blueprint sustainability reporting standard that we will publish in early January as a public good. We call it the Santa Claus Regenerative Enterprise Worldwide Interoperable Transparency standard (SCREWIT Standard) and it will be freely available to all in return for a small donation to the Santa Retirement Fund. The Standard contains 468 metrics covering every possible impact ever invented and embeds value creation metrics against the six capitals:
  • Elf Capital
  • Reindeer Capital
  • Santa Capital
  • Santa Capital
  • Santa Capital
  • Everything Else Capital 
It also includes sector standards, country standards and SME standards as well as an optional annex for companies who want to use SCREWIT for PR purposes only. We believe the SCREWIT Standard will usher in a new age of corporate transparency that will respond to investor demand for consistent, comparable, reliable sustainability information that will be entirely auditable by the Big Four and rankable by ISS, MSCI and Sustainalytics. In this way, SCREWIT supports SDG 8 by leading to the creation of thousands more jobs in the disclosure sector. 
SCREWIT will also provide a basis for engagement with regulators, activists and NGOs such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Access to Ice Cream Foundation. The SCREWIT taxonomy will incorporate technical screening criteria for all sustainability metrics and will prioritize anything to do with Santa wellbeing (which is the ultimate public good). SCREWIT will be administered by the Global Overseer of SCREWIT Standards (GLOSS) which will be a multi-stakeholder body comprised of Santa Claus and allies. 

We are fully expecting all global reporters to adopt SCREWIT. In fact, the interoperability of SCREWIT makes it extremely compatible with other standards, if they survive. For example, you can also use other standards by including an appropriate content reference table, for example, SCREWIT SASB or SCREWIT GRI or even SCREWIT IIRC. The versatile, comprehensive SCREWIT Standard will revolutionize corporate sustainability reporting and finally deliver a tool that will enable us to save the planet and make more money. In this way, Santa Claus is taking the politics out of disclosure by putting it back into the public interest. To incentivize the unconvinced, all new early adopters of SCREWIT will receive a free prize: a coaching session with GRI on how to recruit CEOs. 

Feedback on this Report 
We will be happy to receive your feedback on this report, as long as it's positive. For those of you who are unable to create your own feedback, you can use this short poll: 

Please select the response you feel is most appropriate (multiple responses accepted) 

Isn’t this the best report you have ever read? 
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Who reads reports?

So, until we Zoom again..... 

 We Wish You and Everyone in the World 
(especially INVESTORS) 
a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year 


elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Owner/Manager of Beyond Business Ltdan inspired Sustainability Strategy and Reporting firm having supported 119 client reports to date; author of three books and several chapters on Sustainability Reporting and the Human Resources connection to CSR; frequent chair and speaker at sustainability events and judge in several sustainability awards programs each year. Contact me via Twitter , LinkedIn or via Beyond Business
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