Responsible Business and Sustainable Communications
29 May 2015 by Joe Jones
After an intensive week of conferences, I thought it’d be nice to share some thoughts I had around some of the discussions and topics that were covered.
Business as unusual
Reading through the agendas for both the Responsible Business Summit and for the Sustainability Communications Forum it was interesting to see that there was a good deal of repetition of the high level subjects – sessions were still talking about engaging internal stakeholders, about effectively and authentically communicating sustainability success and about getting buy in to your sustainability programmes – so same as usual then? But where it was different was the scale of what was being discussed – multi-year programmes to fight child homelessness across the globe, giant multi-national corporations having coordinated volunteer schemes and entirely ethically sourced supply chains. So the same challenges are still being discussed, but it does seem that those challenges are now being experienced in regard to large, ambitious projects.
Measuring still a challenge
I think one of the most interesting sessions of the two events was one with a very simple subject – “How to Measure Sustainability” – the session was standing room only. Clearly, this is still an ongoing issue for many sustainability and CSR managers and it’s one that we often talk about at length with our clients. Finding ways to effectively measure sustainability success is undeniably complicated, from easily communicating the huge numbers embedded within carbon emissions to finding a way to usefully measure the volunteer schemes and social engagement work being done internationally is an interesting challenge, and it’s good to hear and share what’s working and what hasn’t worked.
Are you ready for G4?
The last subject that was clearly occupying minds was the impending switch to GRI’s new G4 framework. 2015 is the last year that companies can use G3 and G3.1 for their reporting, and with the change in the rules and the focus on materiality, it’s clear that a lot of people are spending significant amounts of time getting ready for the change. SustainIt have helped several of our clients put in long term reporting plans for their sustainability programmes and data, so we know just how important it’s going to be to make sure that the data you’re using and reporting against is up to date and relevant.