Many companies are not disclosing one huge material risk.
By Mindy S. Lubber
If you were responsible for a $36 billion investment portfolio, you’d want as much information as possible. So does Nancy Kopp.
As Maryland’s state treasurer, Kopp chairs the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Board, which oversees the state’s $36 billion dollar pension fund. The trouble, Kopp says, is that many companies don’t fully disclose a key material risk hovering over their future performance: climate change. Without robust corporate disclosure, the state’s investment managers can’t truly know how risky their investments are.
Kopp’s predicament is not unique. This current lack of information should worry hundreds of other major fiduciaries around the country like Kopp. Her dilemma is theirs, too.
For those who think climate change is a sector-specific risk, think again.
Taken for granted in much of the modern world, shifts in demand for this vital resource require new thinking. Enter, a big thinker.
By Dirk Olin
In 2009, Marcus Norton was nearing graduation from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. A native of England and a recovering lawyer with a self-described “passion for sustainability,” he was taking Anant Sundaram’s “Business and Climate Change” class, reportedly the first of its kind at any leading business school. When fellow Brit Paul Dickinson, then CEO (now executive chairman) of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), delivered a visiting lecture on his agenda for changing the equation of commercial reporting on fossil fuel use, Norton experienced one of life’s “aha” moments.
“I had been determined to leave Tuck with a general management job with sustainability as its focus,” Norton recalls, sipping tea during an interview in the CDP’s common rooms just east of Bloomsbury in London.
Eco-wise, sure. But General Mills CEO Ken Powell brings more than environmental foresight to his CR leadership.
By Dirk Olin
Ken Powell is chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills. The world’s sixth-largest food company includes household brand names such as Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Yoplait, Pillsbury, and Green Giant. Powell joined the company in 1979, partly (as he explains below) based on an organizational philosophy of employee relations that has only grown more visionary since.
He has spent more than a third of his career overseas, and in 1990 he helped launch Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the company’s joint venture with Nestlé, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1996, he returned to the United States to become president of Yoplait USA, and the following year he was named president of the General Mills Big G cereal division.
One CR pro’s rationale for moving from an NGO to the world of commerce.
By Michael Washburn
It is easy to think of environmental issues as someone else’s problem. But these challenges are complex, and for a civil society to succeed in addressing big concerns like climate change, resource scarcity, habitat loss—and to do so with respect for human rights—requires engagement from not only government and nonprofit organizations, but also companies and citizens.
For more than 15 years, I worked in the nonprofit sector and academia, with a focus on sustainable forestry, land conservation, green building, and conservation leadership. I served as vice president of brand management for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), where I advanced the adoption of independent forest-certification and product labeling programs. FSC-certification can be found on products ranging from Victoria’s Secret catalogues to Whole Foods grocery bags and the invoices from your phone company (as well as this magazine).
Why sustainability reporting and the annual report should be combined.
By Don Mcgrath and Gregg LaBar
Of the more than 80,000 transnational companies, roughly 4,000 of them issue a report on their sustainability, corporate responsibility (CR), and corporate citizenship programs, according to data compiled by the Global Reporting Initiative, CERES, and other sources.
A number of reasons might explain the failure to communicate on sustainability, but it is a missed opportunity for many companies. Sustainability—the “triple bottom line” that addresses social, environmental, and economic outcomes—belongs as part of the annual report because it reflects an important measure of performance that should be captured in the most important, transparent, and far-reaching communications document a public company produces.
Why the best response to disaster is transparency.
By Neno Duplan
The public’s fear about releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is understandable owing to a lack of information on the radionuclide contamination. To date, the focus of the crisis rightfully has been on taming the reactors and containing the leaks. After some initial setbacks, the situation at the plant has come closer to being under control. Very soon, attention will shift to characterizing effects on human health and the environment and on long-term monitoring and stewardship. At this point, an opportunity exists for the Japanese government and TEPCO, the electric utility that owns and operates the plant, to become as transparent as possible about the evolving conditions.
Difficulties at the plant first emerged on March 11 at reactor No.1 when the Japanese government declared a “nuclear emergency status.
Using the established customer satisfaction methodology from CR Magazine’s last issue and adapted from CR Magazine’s sister publications, we identified the top players in the Environment and Energy Technology space, using data and feedback from customers.
By Elliot Clark
Ranking technologies in the CR domain is a new practice. In other technology segments, you have your Gartner Magic Quadrants and analyst reports galore. But in the very new field of Environment and Energy Technology, CR’s Top Ten ranking is the first customer-based ranking we know of.
PwC’s pioneering CR officer gets granular.
By The Editors
Shannon Schuyler aspires to a job without a future. Despite the marketplace being filled with downsizing, displacement, and distrust, the Corporate Responsibility leader of the Americas at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), feels that her ultimate success will only occur when she is told that her services are no longer required. “If I do my job right,” she says, “I will not have it in 10 years.”
Schuyler began working at PwC more than a decade ago. “Before PwC, I had started out at an accounting firm, where I did recruiting for actuaries and accountants. So when I came here, I saw the organization from a different view. When people think accounting, they tend to think it is very staid. But this organization has breadth and scope and an ability to try different things.”
After working in various roles—client service, HR, and marketing—Schuyler realized that PwC employees held a collective set of beliefs that would support a formal CR effort.
According to a recent survey conducted in 25 nations, nine out of 10 people believe water is a crucial issue for the world today. Similar numbers of people expect governments and corporations, as well as themselves, to take active roles in ensuring the availability of clean water. They also agree that they need to know more about how to act to preserve clean water and make sure everyone has access to it.
More than five million people die each year due to a lack of safe drinking water, and the United Nations estimates that 5.5 billion people will lack adequate access to fresh water in the next 20 years. Water scarcity and threats to water quality have emerged as serious threats to peoples and businesses around the world.
Molson Coors Brewing Company earlier this year entered into a strategic collaboration with Circle of Blue in support of their mutual and long-term commitment to protecting global fresh water supplies.
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