CSRHub Blog Research on ESG metrics and comments on sustainability best practice

Say yes! Turning ‘we don’t report’ into ‘we do’

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 19, 2013 10:58:23 AM / by CSRHub Blogging

Say yes! Turning ‘we don’t report’ into ‘we do’

Why more U.S. companies are publicly reporting on their environmental performance and what you can do to stay ahead of the trend.

Webinar: April 10, 2013
11am – 12 noon EST

“It used to be that only firms at the leading edge of sustainable business released environmental reports, but by 2012 a third of American firms had begun disclosing these facets of their operations, along with nearly 40 percent of companies globally.” State of Green Business 2013

The link between financial performance and sustainability reporting is growing ever stronger; companies that disclose their performance frequently outperform those which don’t. A rapidly growing number of companies are reporting on their sustainability efforts, if you are a business which doesn’t disclose you will soon be in the minority amongst your peers.

If you are thinking about preparing a sustainability report, this briefing will help jumpstart your efforts by explaining key issues you should consider, things not to do when reporting, and important benchmarking tactics. This webinar is especially aimed at medium and smaller sized enterprises that are looking to build internal capacity for preparing sustainability reports.

Click here now to sign up


11:00        The State of Sustainability Reporting

Bahar Gidwani: CEO and Co-Founder, CSRHub

  • Who is reporting and why?
  • Overview of key reporting frameworks


11:10        Sustainability Reporting Success Strategies

Lorinda Rowledge: Co-founder, EKOS International

  • Trust & Transparency
  • Trends
  • Essential elements to consider in preparing your first sustainability report
  • Lessons learned and tips for success

11:30        Benchmarking:  Find your focus and unlock best practices

James Salo, PhD.  Sr. Vice President Research, North America

  • Why benchmark and what can you learn by doing it?
  • Fast, cost effective approaches and case study examples

11:45        Discussion, Audience Q & A


12:00        Close          

About the Speakers:


Bahar Gidwani, CFA.  Bahar co-founded CSRHub in 2007.  Its goal is to increase access to corporate sustainability information.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site.  He worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar holds both a CFA and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Lorinda Rowledge, Ph.D.  From a foundation of expertise in world-class management systems and lean production, Lorinda has focused for the last 15 years on helping companies use Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility as a key platform for business advantage, innovation, and positive impact in the world.  She partners deeply with executives, mid-managers, and cross-functional teams to design and implement strategy-driven programs that achieve performance breakthroughs and innovative solutions.  Lorinda co-leads EKOS Sustainability Reporting services, helping companies engage with stakeholders and communicate the story of their CSR impact and progress.

James Salo, Ph.D.  James is the senior member responsible for Trucost's research efforts in North America and coordinates Trucost's Advisory Panel. James has been the research lead for Newsweek's Green Rankings and many of Trucost’s environmental performance benchmarking projects.   James will review why companies benchmark and what value and insights companies gain from benchmarking their performance.

CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 7,000+ companies from 135 industries in 91 countries. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world. 


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[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments posted in Bahar Gidwani, benchmarking, CSR, CSRHUB news, EKOS, environmental performance, State of Green Business, sustainable business, sustainability, James Salo, Lorinda Rowledge, Trucost, CSRHub, sustainability report

What Is Sustainability, Really?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 14, 2011 9:33:11 AM / by Cynthia Figge

By Cynthia Figge


442225983_e4cc869593 At a recent sustainability conference, I spoke with the COO of a major manufacturing company who remarked that his company would not publish a sustainability report given the lack of specificity of the term, its implied breadth and seeming non-attainability. Instead, his company is focused on metrics for integrating their environmental work into their core business strategy and publishing an “environmental report”. I’ve heard this sentiment before (for the past 15 years). Many companies struggle with the challenge of defining sustainability precisely enough to drive the collection of metrics, and a shared accountability for “hitting the numbers.”


What is a clear definition of the term “sustainability”? There is the Merriam Webster definition (“of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods”) and the succinct sentence on Wikipedia (“the capacity to endure”). Wikipedia also adds “For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.” 


Perhaps the most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development, is that of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations, published on March 20, 1987-- “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


My consulting firm, EKOS International, defines sustainability as economic development that creates value for customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and society by designing and operating business in a way that aligns with ecosystems, in service of human prosperity, today and in the future.


Screen shot 2011-04-14 at 10.21.19 AM Although these definitions may not be precise, I believe that they are mental models which can transform thinking. EKOS was the first consultancy to draw the definition of big “S” as sustainability with three overlapping circles of ecological capital, human capital, and financial or manufactured capital whereby sustainability is achieved by optimizing business operations at the nexus of these systems. The importance of this definition is not its precision, but  the breakthrough idea that sustainability is not a trade-off of competing systems, or three bottom lines, but rather the true integration of the natural (N or ecosystem), human (H or social) and manufactured (M or industrial) systems.


For some people, sustainability primarily refers to the environment. For others it’s all encompassing,  like the term CSR (corporate social responsibility). As I’ve written before, the trend seems to be using CSR and sustainability interchangeably.


Each company should go through the process of defining sustainability for its own firm, because the mental model drives the work necessary to achieve the goal of a sustainable company, industrial system, and a sustainable world. 



Cynthia Figge, Cofounder and COO of CSRHUB is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement. In 1996 she co-founded EKOS International, one of the first consultancies integrating sustainability and corporate strategy. Cynthia has worked with major organizations including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, and REI to help craft sustainability strategy integrated with business. She was an Officer of LIN Broadcasting/McCaw Cellular leading new services development, and started a new “Greenfield” mill with Weyerhaeuser. She serves as Advisor to media and technology companies, and served as President of the Board of Sustainable Seattle. Cynthia has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Cynthia is based in the Seattle area.

Inset photo courtesy of loop_oh.

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[fa icon="comment"] 1 Comment posted in corporate social responsibility, CSR, Cynthia Figge, EKOS International, Uncategorized, "what is sustainability", sustainability, United Nations, Brundtland Commission, CSRHub, SRI, sustainability report, sustainable development

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