This is one of a series of occasional discussions about how businesses measure and report sustainability.
Measuring and reporting sustainability performance is critical and of growing importance to businesses of all kinds. Large corporations a becoming more aware of the need to demonstrate sustainability in their operations and they will demand the same from their suppliers, many of whom are small businesses.
Emerging Market Stories is primarily concerned with companies’ performance in the environmental arena—energy saving and reducing climate impact. That said, sustainability performance also includes job creation, diversity and inclusion, and other indicators of social responsibility. While all are important, it is your stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, and your community however you define it—who will dictate which sustainability indicators are most important to your business.
Here are some of the methodologies gaining international recognition:
- IRIS, sponsored by the Global Impact Investing network
- The Global Reporting Initiative
- The UN Global Compact Communication of Progress
These and other initiatives will be discussed and analyzed.
Finally, it must be noted that sustainability metrics are complements, not replacements for the standard financial metrics of profitability, cash flow, net worth, etc. Indeed, financial metrics are often included in sustainability reporting by many practitioners. Profit is good. A firm is a more effective and useful contributor to the community when it is on sound financial footing.
I’m anxious to here from business execs, scholars and other experts about your experiences measuring and communicating sustainability and social impact. Your comments are welcome.