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The Pacific Northwest has held its own during the recent financial turmoil, performing on par with the entire U.S. economy. Just across the border from Washington State is Vancouver, one of Canada’s most dynamic economies because of its status as an anchor to the Pacific Rim region. This region, home to 15 million people, has a very entrepreneurial economy, full of small and medium enterprises as well as some of North America’s most innovative and dynamic corporations. The economy is economically diverse, too, with technology, timber, mining and manufacturing.
This region is home to 10 of America’s Fortune 500 companies and four of Canada’s largest corporations. And several of these companies are among the most forward thinking on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. So who exactly in the Northwest are among the top CSR disclosers and performers?
Pacific Northwest Companies With over US$6bn in Sales
|Company||Fortune 500 Ranking||Revenues (US$ mil)||2011 CSR Report||GRI Report||CR Magazine 2012 Top 100|
|Jim Pattison Group|
|Expeditors International of Washington|
Microsoft: Since 2003 the software giant from Redmond has issued an annual Citizenship Report, and the last three reports adopted GRI’s framework. Microsoft is truly an open book, with an extensive listing that articulates how it follows GRI’s Index and makes it easy for stakeholders to trace and verify all of the company’s statements. Microsoft also reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project and the UN Global Compact. From committing to carbon neutrality to spreading CSR thinking horizontally across the organization, Microsoft’s frankness about its non-financial performance and attention to detail make this company an exemplar of sustainability reporting.
Nike: The athletic apparel company, once vilified for its supply chain problems in the 1990s, has been described by one commentator as a parent of the CSR movement. But just as quickly as most of us have forgotten about Kathy Lee Gifford, Nike’s sustainability performance has left many companies scrambling to catch up. For over a decade Nike has released CSR reports and its most recent one is groundbreaking for its level of sophistication. Users not only read about sustainability, they experience it. As CSR moves away from an exercise to produce a static document and instead brings the company’s challenges and successes to life, companies will look up to Nike for breaking new ground–and breaking assumptions of what it means to be sustainable and transparent, too.
Telus: Canada’s telecommunications leader has issued CSR reports annually since 2000. The company has mastered its disclosure of environmental and social performance data as an effective tool to communicate with all of its stakeholders. While many companies press hard to use their CSR sites as a means of persuasion that they are “doing good” for the environment and really tackling those pesky carbon emissions, Telus talks to its customers, not only NGOs or sustainability mavens, as a target stakeholder group. Goals, priorities and successes are all discussed in detail, and its most recent report achieved the highest possible rating, an A+, based on the level of conformance with GRI disclosure requirements.
Meanwhile, Costco and Amazon are conspicuously silent, despite the nudging, often vocal, about how their business practices affect both the planet and people as a result of their their operations and supply chains.
Reporting sustainability-related data and the discussion of social and governance issues are not only limited to Fortune 500 companies. If your firm is an important supplier within another company’s supply chain, the chances are high that more of your peers will start disclosing such information–especially since more companies are requiring an audit on everything from labor rights to water stewardship.
To that end, speed up the GRI certification process by joining the GRI Certified Sustainability Reporting Course led by ISOS Group and in cooperation with us (3P) and Sustainable Industries at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute on June 11-12!
Photo courtesy Wikipedia.