Corporate Sustainability Manager- Week 2 Review

Tue, 2011-12-13 13:14

My second live online session opened with a discussion about sustainability for our respective businesses. The exercise was an opportunity for the participants to practice their talking points for why sustainability initiatives are important to implement in their business. After sharing for 10-15 minutes, Jon Boggiano, our instructor, laid out an introduction into the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which is the set of standards that company’s use to quantify sustainability initiatives. There was a great comparison of CERES reporting versus the GRI and Jon did another great job of using case studies (especially his explanation of what UPS is doing) to apply this and other principles that we were learning.

An interesting takeaway from the session was that there is a lot of flexibility to become sustainable through GRI’s standards. It’s important that companies put together a strategic plan because it will be impossible to do everything at once. According to Jon, companies are usually taking 12-18 months to do their first GRI sustainability report. This is usually because companies do not have existing data collection processes in place to capture the metrics that they want to do reporting under GRI protocols. If there’s not a lot of business intelligence, then you have to wait for the data to be recorded. Jon did a great job of expressing the need to not only put in the appropriate data collection procedures but to also create baselines and benchmark performance.

My overall assessment of today’s session was that I was pleasantly surprised by how much substance was included in the session. I’ve already reviewed a lot of the material that we discussed because there was a lot to cover and think that the Jon’s instruction was very effective. There also was a lot of dialogue between Jon and the students through the chat window today and I was pleased how Jon made sure to keep this interaction consistent throughout the entire session. Our homework for next week is to read the slides about the environmental indicators.

Ben Lack, The Daily Energy Report


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