By Maureen Hart and Bob Willard
Are we there yet? Most existing sustainability reporting and assessment systems focus on progress made since a prior baseline year. And each year thousands of companies publish corporate sustainability reports detailing millions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions avoided, tons of waste reduced, and gallons of water and BTUs of energy saved. With all this progress being made, surely the sustainability battle must be almost won by now, mustn’t it? Unfortunately, no.
But it’s not for lack of trying. Many businesses, government agencies and NGOs are trying to chart a new and more sustainable course of development. They are changing their processes and systems in ways that use less energy and fewer resources, reduce emissions, and restore ecosystem functions. However, much of these actions are done piecemeal, hindered by the lack of a comprehensive understanding of what a sustainable organization — indeed, what a sustainable global economic and social system — would look like and an approach for getting there.
Another problem is that most of the sustainability reporting and assessment tools, guidelines and standards currently available – Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Accountability 1000 and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), to name a few – are focused on external reporting and ranking. As a result, their output focuses on the most positive aspects of what the organization has done in the past, not the difficulties or challenges for the future.
So, what does sustainability really look like? And how do we know if we are getting there?
Two new open-source tools are now available to answer these two key questions, the Future Fit Business Benchmark from The Natural Step (TNS) Canada, and S-CORE from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Both of these tools can be integrated with the 150+ sustainability reporting and rating standards that are currently in use.Click to continue reading »