August 12th Weekly Update
Though we hope you’re off somewhere enjoying the summer, we’d like to catch a bit of your attention to share some of what recently came across our desk. Here are a few bite-sized updates for the week of August 12th for you to marble over.
If you're interested in taking your non-financial disclosure practice up a notch, consider...
Listening to thought leadership as you go about your day
Tobias Webb, the founder of Innovation Forum, coordinated the August 8th web discussion "Money talks: How financial institutions are driving sustainable landscapes and commodities." Speakers from ABN AMRO, M&G Investments and Invesco described how their investors are increasingly asking what’s being done by the finance industry to drive positive change, particularly where green bonds, social bonds and sustainability bonds (both social and environmental projects) are concerned. The panelists elaborated on the frameworks and initiatives utilized in assessments of governance practices and environmental and social performance and impact, such as GRI, CDP, TCFD and the UN SDGs.
The push to assess board oversight, governance, supply chain hotspots, materiality, risk mitigation, and internal and external communications were all highlighted as key features for addressing the change that’s needed. These topics reinforce the increasing role of non-financial disclosure in decision-making and represent opportunities for companies to strengthen both practices and disclosures in these areas. They are also part of the ways we help businesses close the gap between expectations for non-financial disclosures and what gets disclosed.
Digging into recent disclosure efforts
Infosys’ 2019 Sustainability Report describes its move to be a “Live Enterprise”—one in which responsibility earns the respect of its stakeholders, strengthens its digital capabilities, progresses its operating model for the digital era and transforms its talent holistically.
Ford Motor Company reflects on 20 years of sustainability reporting and its goals to drive human progress by providing mobility and accessibility for all, become the most inclusive and diverse enterprise globally, responsibly source all raw materials used in all vehicles globally and use only recycled and renewable plastics in all vehicles globally.
Perhaps most significant, the report coincides with Ford’s first Climate Change Scenario Report, which describes risks and opportunities associated with climate change and presents Ford’s vision of “new mobility solutions that will contribute to a low-carbon future.”
Focusing on recent publications
SustainAbility’s 2019 Annual Trends Report highlights key issues facing rapidly changing industries and discusses emerging solutions impacting businesses as they transition towards a more sustainable economy. Though the report predicts continued political instability, more pronounced climate impacts and accelerating rates of biodiversity loss, it also shares an optimism that stems from action taken by the bold.
When preparing for your upcoming reporting cycle, consider this report as input for your materiality assessment to provide context for understanding risks and opportunities as well as justification for managing various impacts.
Bloomberg’s online publication brought forth another layer in the brewing conversation between financial indicators and climate-related risk last week. As contributor Kelly Gilblom pointed out on August 6th in “Big Money Starts to Dump Stocks That Pose Climate Risks,” major investment firms are pushing companies in greener directions and are willing to divest from those that aren’t doing enough.
ExxonMobil faced this reality check when London-based Legal & General Investment Management divested. LGIM’s head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy, Meryam Omi, explained, “You cannot have the same conversation for 15 years with no results.” Although Exxon indicated it continues to publish an annual tally of emissions from its operations and it is on track to meet targets for reducing methane emissions, LGIM boldly dumped about $300 million in its shares, after attempts at direct engagement and backing shareholder resolutions were unsuccessful. When trying to convince organizations that it’s imperative to act, consider deferring to this recent case.
Joining or spreading the word about our upcoming learning opportunities
The IIRC Approved Integrated Reporting Training will be delivered in Nairobi, Kenya, on August 22-23 (a shift from August 8-9) in collaboration with IIRC Partner, Enact Sustainable Strategies. Help spread the word throughout your network and with supply chain partners!
Our next GRI Standards Training will be held in Washington, D.C., on September 26-27. If you haven't already completed the course, please consider joining us in our nation's capitol.
Fall dates for training sessions in San Francisco and New York are in the works!
Getting a head start on your next reporting cycle – and raising the bar
As teams take a breath—and hopefully celebrate—after publishing sustainability reports and completing submissions for non-financial disclosures, they soon start to consider how they can do even better next cycle. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to reach out to have your reports reviewed for opportunities for improvement, sustainability strategy evaluated, benchmark analyses performed, materiality assessments conducted and assurance readiness scoped out.
Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation before the fall and receive a 10% discount off all services.
Leveraging advanced expertise through a new program to integrate ESG into your company
The Conception Forum (TCF), brought to you by SVT Group and ISOS Group, is a unique combination of 200 hours of consulting support and nine webinar sessions to help cross-functional teams develop four fundamental management competencies necessary to integrate ESG into strategic management. We're looking for participants for our pilot program! If you're interested in registering your company at a steep discount, send us a note.
Applying to help companies from within
Microsoft seeks a Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Manager at its Redmond, Washington, office to provide insights into sustainability through the lens of key societal stakeholders and to formalize Microsoft’s work on this issue via an annual public corporate Sustainability Report.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities hopes to fill the position of Sustainability Operations Manager, develop, and implement sustainability and building performance projects and guidelines that meet and exceed the company’s existing building efficiency goals to reduce energy, greenhouse gas, potable water and waste.
If there is anything else you feel would help you along in your journey, please don't hesitate to send your thoughts to us!
To a brighter future,
Team ISOS Group