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10 Trends in Sustainability Reporting: Great Minds Think Alike

| Thursday February 11th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Don’t you love it when you are thinking about your best friend, and when the phone rings, she’s on the other line?

That’s what happened to me this morning with our friends over at Environmental Leader. Just as I was sitting down to write about the program we’ve been putting together for a free and very exciting virtual conference on sustainability reporting, (GRI calling in all the way from Amsterdam and Seventh Generation will be there) I checked my reader, and what do I see, but a post from EL about the top 10 Trends in Sustainability Reporting. Environmental Leader, you are so on top of it. Which I guess makes sense, what with the name and all.

Here are the top 10 issues of the day with sustainability reporting, according to Environmental Leader:

1.Financial statements capture only a portion of corporate risks and value-creation potential.

2. Sustainability reporting is largely voluntary, rather than by compliance.

3. Sustainability reporting is now the norm among large companies globally, increasing from about 300 sustainability reports in 1996 to 3,100

4. Sustainability reporting in the U.S. is not as commonplace as it is in Europe.

5. Most industrialized countries restrict environmental-impact activities and require some form of environmental regulatory reporting already. [ed. note: we’re not sure how to rectify this with #2]

6. The evolution of metric frameworks for sustainability reporting is a major challenge for suppliers and users.

7. There are variable and unreliable measurement and disclosure results in today’s sustainability reports due to multiple metric frameworks and a lack of uniform definitions.

8. The emergence of overlapping national and regional legislation and regulation is a major challenge for companies.

9. Synchronization of voluntary reporting frameworks with governmental and regulatory requirements may be driven in part by recent initiatives by the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Intellectual Capital Initiative.

10: Prediction: Governmental, regulatory, and audit oversight of sustainability issues will become the norm within five years, in both the developed and developing world, across all industries.

If you’ve got any interest in hearing about how these trends might affect you or your company, please join us at our free  virtual conference on March 4th.


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  • David Hohmann

    re: #5 vs. #2– mere “compliance” with environmental regulations does not ensure sustainability, because of the economic and social components of sustanability (the triple point this site draws its moniker from). Sustainability as a holistic systems approach may incorporate considerations that would otherwise be outside the typical single-channel or siloed management frameworks.Yes we need better metrics for this. The future path (#10) will likely involve a great number of collaborations and synergies rather than old-school command and control approaches. Part of the solution may be web-based, as in many other activities today.

  • David Hohmann

    re: #5 vs. #2– mere “compliance” with environmental regulations does not ensure sustainability, because of the economic and social components of sustanability (the triple point this site draws its moniker from). Sustainability as a holistic systems approach may incorporate considerations that would otherwise be outside the typical single-channel or siloed management frameworks.Yes we need better metrics for this. The future path (#10) will likely involve a great number of collaborations and synergies rather than old-school command and control approaches. Part of the solution may be web-based, as in many other activities today.

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