Top 5 Sustainability & CSR News Stories this week – 31.10.2008

This week has seen a lot of interesting news items on CSR and Sustainability. The most interesting stories I came across where the first and second stories below. Namely on the link of effective management and sustainability governance and the research on CSR reporting done by KPMG study mentioned in the second article.

Here are the Top 5 of this week:

New research confirms link between corporate responsibility and improved financial performance

New research released today by Business in the Community (BITC) reveals a statistically significant link between effective management and governance of environmental and social issues and financial performance.

Sustainability Reporting Grows Dramatically Among Multinationals

The number of large multinational companies reporting corporate responsibility (CR) data has risen dramatically over the last three years, with vast majority doing so because of ethical reasons, according to new research from KPMG.

Global Investors Issue $4T Incentive for Sustainability

A powerful group of global investors has launched an initiative to call on almost 9,000 listed companies to sign-up to international standards on human rights, the environment and anti-corruption measures.

Future of green is not so black, say some

The deepening economic crisis may appear to be the perfect storm for environmentalism, but many in and around the green movement contend the opposite, seeing in it a time of opportunity.

U.N. Set to Spur Global Green Market

The United Nations Environment Programme launched the Green Economic Initiative last week to shift the global economy toward environmentally friendly investments in order to create jobs and address climate change.

Top 5 Sustainability & CSR News Stories this week – 24.10.2008

Environmental and climate Change topics is the focus of this weeks Top 5 Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility news stories. This is not intentional but merely a reflection of the interesting new I came across during that week.

Here are the Top 5 of this week:

EU announces next eco-design product priorities
The European Commission has unveiled a list of ten priority energy-using product groups for which it wants energy-efficiency standards to be established in the next three years.

Top 10 sources of pollution named and shamed
Mining and material extraction have health risks that could be avoided with relatively small investments.

UNEP plans green version of the New Deal spacer
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a ‘Green New Deal’ initiative, which it hopes will give governments the tools to perform an environmental overhaul of their economies.

Crunch fails to crush cleantech investment
Money invested globally in green technology has grown strongly this year, despite the downturn.

Calif. Efficiency Laws Saved State Big Bucks
A report from the University of California, Berkeley, reaffirmed research recently released by the state Air Resources Board: Strong energy policies will become a key driver for improving job creation, household incomes and the Gross State Product.

Review of the AllianceBoots 2007/08 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report

This is the first review of a CSR report and I will follow a clear format every time. I will have a headline with the key factor that is being reviewed followed by the text and a 1 out 10 points rating. At the moment I have 10 review points in total. This review is not intended to be academic or systematic but rather a good look into the topics and issues that matter for you as the reader and stakeholder. In the end every individual has a different opinion. This is mine.

I am also following one important premise: Keep it short and simple.

So here we go.

The 2007/2008 CSR Report of AllianceBoots – a large is a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group in the UK.
CSR Report URL: AllianceBoots CSR Report 2007/2008

Reporting Period
10/10
Alliance Boots reports annually. This is best practice. Well done.

Topics & Clarity
7/10 points
The categorization of the four areas of reporting in: Marketplace, Environment, Workplace and Community is very rigid and really not very innovative. This would need to be changed to provide more stakeholder focused information in my opinion. Best practice shows that this is not the ideal way of structuring a CSR report.
But this is a globally accepted approach to categorize your activities in this manner. Not the best choice in my opinion but still worth 7 out of 10 as they are showing that they approach CSR in a structured fashion.

Reporting Of The Material Issues
5/10 points
They have pretty much included all material issues in their business but the discussion is not extensive enough to give full marks. Addressing all the topics is one thing. Discussing them in an appropriate way is another.

Reporting Of Performance Indicators
4/10 points
Alliance Boots has chosen to report on their performance from last year to this. This is a shame as they should thrive for reporting that includes previous years as well. This would have given the user a better indication how they are doing in the long run. In terms of where the performance is reporting is Alliance Boots okay but not really special. They have a special performance section in the navigation and a 2007/08   in every category. But this is not useful in my opinion. Especially as the seperate performance section is not extensive enough to provide appropriate insides in their performance.

Reporting According To The GRI G3
8/10
Very extensive and well presented. This is best practice. The only thing that is missing are the comments. This would have given us more insights.

Reference To Other Parts Of Their Website
5/10
The important thing here is to provide further links inside the specific CSR sections to other places on the corporate website. This is not the case with this report. 5 points because this is a micro site within the corporate website which is a start to linking it within the website.

Which Communication Tools Are They Using?
2/10
Another weak point in my opinion. They are not using anything in terms of communication tools. Not even a feedback page. 2 points for having a micro site and not just an integration in their corporate website.

CSR Report Contact: An Actual Contact person or Just An Email Address?
0/10
Just a anonymous email. Not a good idea.

Do They Provide Information What They May Have Omitted?
0/10
I have not seen anything stating that they might have omitted something. I think this is a must

Assurance: Has The CSR Report been Assured By An External Auditor?
0/10
No assurance. This is not good. Their stakeholders will ask themselves as a consequence: How credible is this report? Are they telling us the truth?

Total points for the AllianceBoots 2007/2008 CSR Report:

41/100

Overall Opinion: The report is not bad but not good either. Just below average. And when we take a look at the reports of AllianceBoots over the previous years (CSR Report 2006) then we need to ask them what their intention with this latest report is. They are definitely taking a step back with this report in my opinion.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Germany – Part 1

Being German myself, the whole topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Germany was and still is very interesting for me. Ever since I started working in the CSR field years ago I closely followed all the different developments in Germany regarding CSR. This is why I will have several posts on CSR in Germany over the coming weeks.

This first post today will list the three key developments in the last 5 years in Germany I have come across. The following posts will take a closer look at the current state of CSR in Germany followed by a future outlook and finally my very own opinion on CSR in Germany.

Before we go into more detail it needs to be said that CSR in Germany is not really comparable to CSR in the UK for example. CSR in Germany is still in its infancy when it comes to the adaption of CSR principles in businesses, individualisation of CSR campaigns and peer pressure to encourage more CSR work in German organisations.

Here are some recent developments that are worth mentioning in my opinion. I have chosen these three developments to show that there is a lot of positive movement in Germany regarding CSR and sustainable business practice.

A CSR Label will be introduced in order to reward good businesses practice

The German government plans to make the country’s first trademark for good business behaviour, as a complement to “Made in Germany” as a respected global brand. Germany is the world’s leading export nation but recognition of the need to combine business with corporate responsibility remains underdeveloped, especially among smaller companies.

Germany has its own CSR conference now.
The 3rd annual CSR conference in Berlin was the most recent one. The Humboldt University recently held the 3rd International CSR Conference in Berlin. The focus this year was on corporate social responsibility and global governance. A great development.

The first ever designated page from the German government on CSR

The German government has also recently shown an ever increasing interest in CSR by starting a complete website called “CSR in Germany”. The page provides information on fundamental aspects of CSR, international guidelines and tools, as well as on the areas of action and activities of the Federal Government in this context. www.csr-in-deutschland.de is a further step towards developing a national CSR Strategy.

These three examples in my opinion show that CSR in Germany is definitely moving in the right direction. So let’s keep up the good work. I especially like the role of the government in supporting responsible business practice.

This is all for now but the next CSR Germany post will take an even closer look at CSR in Germany and a list of resources on the German CSR community.

P.S.: I just love this picture. I found it while searching on Flickr on pictures from german places. Picture credit: Stuck in Customs. Picture Credit