Big Ideas in Business Sustainability Reporting

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Following the exploration of business sustainability monitoring and reporting, the debate continues on whether a company should focus on transparency and continuous individual improvement or corporate performance measures relative to a broader all-encompassing target. Rather than separating traditional performance from sustainability, would the business world be better served in aligning business sustainability with traditional financial reporting?

Building on previous article, Environmental Leader presents new commentary on the evolving standards of corporate sustainability reporting and the current corporate efforts to provide greater transparency. Contained with their most recent discussion, Is Integrated Reporting the ‘Next Step’?, is an interview with Jeroen Derwall, Assistant Professor at the Tilburg Center for Sustainability and at Maastricht University. Herein, the professor discusses the increase in quantity and quality of business sustainability reporting.

Calling for quantified business impacts, Mr. Derwall describes a ‘next level’ that seeks to improve the transparency of business sustainability measures. Rather than jumping directly to consequence and accountability, a global business shift toward aligned business sustainability and traditional financial measure could drive significant change. A few such areas of alignment include:

    • Defining the business sustainability risks poised to limit company growth
    • Defining the business sustainability threats that may impact stakeholder return

    • Defining business actions that may impact internal and external costs

    • Defining business actions that may affect revenue

  • Business sustainability pursuits that focus on a ‘mindset shift’ as an end-state create a positive incentive for sustainability measurement and reporting. Focusing business sustainability attention towards rather than away from traditional measures of financial success, leading organizations can reevaluate their economic and sustainability metrics, improve internal and external communication, and create alignment across the value chain.

    Article by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company; appearing courtesy 3BL Media.

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    About Author

    Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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