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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability reporting’

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”~ Stephen F. Covey
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a framework and encompasses not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them, effectively. It does not replace your Strategic Planning system, rather it should be integrated into your existing one to address new business opportunities. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and addresses how companies manage their economic, social, and environmental ramifications. CSR also addresses relationships in all key spheres of influence: corporate values, the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the community, and the public policy realm.

CSR is a coordinated and structured approach for business, government and non-profit transformation. It is not a marketing campaign on a “green” product. It is not only a facility’s managers duty, process or procedure. It is not only a Public Relations, Human Resource or Procurement job. It is not only about philanthropy for non-profit organizations. It is not only about community involvement like building a playground for your local park. Rather it is a framework that focuses a lens on the tangible benefits that can be garnered from Sustainability and how company’s work within the sphere of the community. Businesses responsibilities and their roles, throughout the industrialized world, have seen a sharp escalation in the social roles corporations are expected to play.

CSR is also a long-term commitment based on an honest strategic effort, results, best practices and driven by transparency to the public. It is interwoven with business strategies and engages with external organizations. It is about measurable transformation, internally and externally, that extracts tangible benefits. Sustainability is more than platitudes and recycling efforts, for recycling is a beginning. It should be able to show financial benefits directly relating to waste reduction, conservation, improvement of internal processes and engagement with externalities (i.e., NGOs, Governments, Customers, Suppliers, etc.).

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
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Originally published on http://www.triplepundit.com.One of the main issues that came up at the Responsible Business Summit was sustainability reporting. Even with all the progress we have seen so far, reporting continues to be one of the most challenging issues for CSR executives. Still, just like CSR, reporting becomes more focused, strategic and smart, and there’s even a continuous search after its business value. The journey of sustainability reporting is still a long one, but listening to the CSR executives in the summit it became clear to me that companies now understand the significance of reporting more than ever and try to figure out how to utilize it in the best way possible. More …

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Forty-seven percent prioritize energy production; 44%, environmental protection
by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, Americans Split on Energy vs. Environment Trade-Off, March 23, 2012, Retrieved: March 23, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are about as likely to say production of energy supplies (47%) should be prioritized as to say environmental protection (44%) should be, a closer division than last year, when energy led by 50% to 41%. These views mark a shift compared with the early 2000s, when Americans consistently assigned a higher priority to environmental protection.

The greater preference for energy production over environmental protection in recent years likely results from the economic downturn, given that Americans have made economic matters their highest priority. There was a brief exception in the spring of 2010, however, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought environmental issues back to the forefront.

Although Americans still view the economy as their No. 1 concern, they perceive the economy to be improving. In this context, the public is now about evenly divided on whether energy development or the environment should be given priority.

These results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 8-11. Rising gas prices, debate over government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama’s current energy policy tour highlight the importance of the energy issue. The Keystone issue in particular has reminded Americans about the trade-offs between increased energy production and risks to the environment.

Democrats and Republicans take opposing sides on the issue, with Republicans favoring energy development by 68% to 24% and Democrats preferring environmental protection by 56% to 34%. Independents’ views are closer to those of Democrats, with 49% prioritizing the environment and 41% energy production.

Compared with 10 years ago, when Americans overall favored environmental protection by 12 percentage points (52% to 40%), all groups have moved in the direction of energy prioritization, though Republicans have shifted much more so than either independents or Democrats.

Public Assigns Higher Priority to Alternative Energy, Conservation Than Production
Americans favor more environmentally friendly energy solutions when they are presented with various choices for addressing the nation’s energy problems.

First, Americans are nearly twice as likely to say the United States should put greater emphasis on the development of alternative energy supplies such as wind and solar power (59%) as to say the U.S. should emphasize production of more oil, gas, and coal supplies (34%). This is the case even though Republicans are more likely to favor production of traditional energy sources over alternative energy.

Gallup found a 66% to 26% margin in favor of alternative energy among all Americans last year, the first time the question was asked.

Also, Americans continue to say the U.S. should emphasize energy conservation by consumers over increased production of oil, gas, and coal to address the nation’s energy problems. However, the 11-point gap in favor of conservation this year (51% to 40%) is much smaller than it was from 2001-2008, when it averaged just under 30 points.

The reduced gap in favor of conservation is due mostly to Republicans’ changing preferences. Republicans currently prefer energy production by 63% to 29%. In 2002, Republicans said conservation should be emphasized over production, by 53% to 35%.

Independents have shifted slightly away from conservation, while Democrats’ preferences are essentially the same as they were 10 years ago.

Implications
Americans now split about evenly when asked to choose between an emphasis on increased energy production and environmental protection. These preferences have varied in the past 11 years in response to changes in the health of the economy and to dramatic events such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Politics have also played a part in Americans’ shifting preferences over the past decade, with Republicans increasingly coming down on the side of increased production of oil, gas, and coal. This likely reflects party leaders’ preference for increased oil exploration in U.S. coastal areas and on U.S. land, which was a key focus at the 2008 Republican National Convention and more recently in calls by Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders for the government to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

But Americans as a whole show a proclivity for more environmentally friendly approaches to dealing with the energy situation, including a greater focus on energy conservation or developing alternative energy supplies, even though Republicans take the opposing view.

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The global warming icon for the ubx.

The global warming icon for the ubx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But remains much lower than the previous high of 72% in 2000

by Frank Newport, March 30, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ — Fifty-five percent of Americans worry a great deal or a fair amount about global warming, up from 51% in 2011, but still significantly lower than the previous high of 72% in 2000.

Trend: How much do you personally worry about global warming?

Gallup first asked Americans to rate their concern about “the ‘greenhouse effect‘ or global warming” in 1989, and has measured it as part of the annual Gallup Environment survey every March since 2001. An average of 60% of Americans since 1989 have worried a great deal or a fair amount about global warming, but concern has fluctuated significantly over this time period. After increasing in the late 1990s and rising to a high of 72% in 2000, worry declined to a low of 51% in 2004. It picked up again in 2005, reaching 66% in 2008, before falling again in recent years — including another 51% reading in 2011.

It is possible that this year’s uptick signals the start of a new period of increased worry, but the high level of variability in this trend makes such predictions difficult.

Personal worry about global warming is significantly related to politics and ideology. Democrats and liberals are most likely to say they are worried, while Republicans and conservatives are least likely.

I'm going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. First, how much do you personally worry about global warming? March 2012 results by demographics, ideology, party ID

Americans under 50 are slightly more worried about global warming than those who are older. Worry is also slightly higher among Americans with high school educations or less than it is among those with more education.

Most Do Not Expect Global Warming to Threaten Their Way of Life

A different question included in Gallup’s March 8-11 Environment survey asked Americans if they thought global warming would pose a “serious threat” to them and their way of life in their lifetime. The 38% who said “yes” is up from last year’s 32%, and is about the same as the percentages measured in 2009 and 2010. Worry about the threat of global warming was slightly lower in 1997 and the early 2000s.

Trend: Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?

There is a definite relationship between responses to this “lifetime threat” question and age — perhaps not surprisingly. An average of 46% of those under 50 say global warming will pose a threat in their lifetime; this drops to 33% among those 50 to 64 and 19% among those 65 and older. Those in the oldest age group, of course, on average have fewer years left in their lifetimes in which global warming could potentially be a threat.

Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime? March 2012 results, by demographics, ideology, and party ID

Predictably, these views reflect politics and ideology, with Democrats and liberals most likely to say global warming will be a threat in their lifetime, and Republicans and conservatives least likely. There is little difference in these views by education.

Implications

Americans’ worry about global warming inched up this year after declining in the recent past. Both worry and views of global warming as an impending threat have gone up this year. The percentage who worry about global warming is still, however, well below the levels reached in a number of other years, although views of global warming as a threat are now roughly as high as they have been.

The history of Americans’ views on global warming is one of significant ups and downs, making it difficult to predict whether this year’s uptick in Americans’ concerns about global warming will continue in the years to come. It will take much more significant change for Americans’ attitudes to reach the levels of just a few years ago, or back in 2000.

Previous Gallup research has documented the strong impact of partisan politics on Americans’ views of global warming. Indeed, Republicans and conservatives remain the least likely to say they worry about global warming. This at least partly reflects the global warming skepticism expressed by conservative media news outlets and among conservative commentators. It is difficult to document whether this emphasis waned this past year as the economy and election issues moved more to the forefront.

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The global warming icon for the ubx.

In U.S., Global Warming Views Steady Despite Warm Winter – Repost from Gallup

Just over half say effects of global warming are now evident, similar to 49% last year

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — About half of Americans, 52%, say the effects of global warming have already begun to happen, consistent with views since 2009. However, this remains down from prior years, when as many as 61% believed global warming was already manifesting itself.

Trend: Opinion About When Effects of Global Warming Will Happen

Today’s level of belief that global warming is already apparent is similar to what Gallup found in 1997 and from 2001 through 2005. During those periods, however, somewhat fewer than today’s 15% said its effects would never happen.

The view that global warming is already causing a rise in sea levels and affecting weather and rainfall around the world is central to climate-change researchers’ and others’ concerns about the issue.

While barely half of Americans agree that the effects of global warming are already manifest, an additional 29% say the effects will start to happen within a few years (4%), sometime in their lifetime (10%), or sometime further into the future (15%). Fifteen percent of Americans say the effects will never happen.

These findings are from Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted each March since 2001. This year’s update was conducted March 8-11.

Skepticism of Media Coverage Remains Heightened

The same poll finds the slight majority of Americans saying the news about global warming is either correct (24%) or underestimates its seriousness (31%). Still, at 42%, the percentage saying the media exaggerate the seriousness remains higher than it was for much of the past decade, although down from the 2010 high point, when it reached 48%.

Trend: Opinion of News Reports About Global Warming

Americans’ belief that the media exaggerate the seriousness of global warming rose sharply between 2006 and 2010, mainly because of a shift in Republicans‘ and independents’ views. Democrats also grew a bit more skeptical during this period, but never more than 25% held this view.

Since 2009, two-thirds of Republicans have continued to say global warming news is exaggerated, while independents’ skepticism has eased slightly, as has Democrats’.

Trend: Percentage Saying News of Global Warming Is "Exaggerated" -- by Party ID

More Blame Human Activity Than Natural Environmental Changes

Much of the controversy over global warming concerns its cause, not whether a measurable increase in the earth’s average temperature has, in fact, occurred. A slight majority of Americans, 53%, say global warming is caused by pollution resulting from human activities. Forty-one percent believe it stems from natural changes in the environment.

This 12-percentage-point spread in views is slightly wider than what Gallup found in 2010, when Americans were more evenly split on the question; however, the lead for the human activities position is still not as wide as was found from 2003 through 2008, when it stretched to as much as 28 points (61% vs. 33%).

Trend: Primary Cause of Global Warming

Majority Perceives a Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

One of the more contentious battles in the politics of global warming involves the perceived scientific consensus. Those promoting global warming as a serious problem have declared the issue settled, arguing there is no serious scientific claim against the evidence for man-made climate change. Global warming skeptics point to scientific dissenters and try to debunk predictions of catastrophic consequences of global warming made by some, while promoting the more benign effects described by others.

When asked to weigh in broadly on this debate, the majority of Americans say most scientists believe global warming is occurring. By contrast, 7% say most scientists reject the existence of climate change, while 32% say most scientists are unsure. At the same time, fewer Americans today believe there is a scientific consensus than did so during the 2000s, when at least 6 in 10 held this view.

Trend: Opinion About Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

Independents and Democrats Tilt Toward Acceptance

Across all four Gallup measures of views on global warming, the majority of Americans lean toward believing in it. Independents’ views are similar to the national averages, while much larger percentages of Democrats are supportive. Republicans, on the other hand, are largely skeptical.

The highest support for global warming claims among Republicans is seen on the scientific consensus question, with 43% saying most scientists believe global warming is happening. Republicans’ agreement is much lower on the question of news reports about global warming, with 31% saying those reports are accurate or underestimate the problem.

Summary of Global Warming Views, by Party ID, March 2012

Bottom Line

The slight majority of Americans support global warming as valid on a number of measures. And after peaking in 2010, public skepticism about global warming softened slightly in 2011, and remains at the lower level this year. Nevertheless, Americans remain less certain about the accuracy of global warming news coverage, about humankind’s role in causing global warming, and about the scientific consensus on the issue than they were last decade.

Some shift in Americans’ global warming views might have been expected this year, given the near-record warm temperatures experienced this winter across much of the country — Gallup finds 79% of Americans reporting that the weather in their area was warmer than usual, though less than half of these attributed this to global warming.

However, the fact that belief in global warming did not increase markedly suggests Americans are basing their perceptions more on the debates over scientific evidence than on the weather outside their front door.

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US government reporting of Sustainability efforts:

In 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13423 that set Sustainability goals for Federal agencies and focused on making improvements in their environmental, energy and economic performance. The Executive Order outlined the following objectives for the United States:
•    30% reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020;
•    26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020;
•    50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015;
•    95% of all applicable contracts will meet Sustainability requirements;
•    Implementation of the 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement;
•    Implementation of the storm water provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 438; and
•    Development of guidance for sustainable Federal building locations in alignment with the Livability Principles put forward by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Is the US government truly Transparent in reporting Sustainability?
Two of the most important tenants in Sustainability reporting are based on integrity and transparency. In 2010, Sustainability reporting was established by the US federal government that outlined the objectives of the status of each objective within each federal agency.  Reporting was completed in January 2011. Within the guidelines, objectives are supposed to be set up for each agency; however, there are number of agencies that did not report objectives for 2010. Those agencies were:
•    Department of Education
•    Department of Housing and Urban Development
•    National Archives and Records Administration
•    Office of Personnel Management
•    Social Security Administration
•    Tennessee Valley Authority
•    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Additionally, three  federal agencies either had broken links or did not provide reporting for their respective areas on the front page of their site. As a citizen, this is an obvious indication that those agencies do not take Sustainability seriously. Those agencies include:
•    Department of Agriculture
•    US Army Corps of Engineers
•    Department of Veterans Affairs

Reporting content, from a business professional viewpoint who has developed, promoted, analyzed, and taken actions based on scorecards and other business dashboards, I find that this format, although simplified, does not provide information about results, issues, or action items to make those objectives satisfactory or “green”. In the business sector, executives and all levels of management, are usually rewarded on the basis of results. It is apparent that the government standards are not set as high. Most managers and executives I know would have communicated clearly that their organization’s need for participation, involvement and ownership of objectives in their respective organizations. There seems to a number of disconnects:
•    A quick review of the consolidated dashboard, indicates that only three federal agencies do not have the yellow or red status on their objectives (which in my experience would make each one of these agencies suspect). My professional experience would indicate that a mix of performance results in each agency would be the norm, rather than the exception.  It is very important to be able to verify and validate the results of any agency.
•    Additionally, it is unbelievable that the Department of Education has no strategy to reduce energy, promote renewable energy, reduce portable water, or have any strategy to reduce petroleum use in their vehicles. This lack information would imply that their executive team is not in control of their agency, nor has a sense of urgency.
•    Also, it is unbelievable the Office of Personnel Management was void of three strategies for reduction of energy reduction, in usage of potable water, and the reduction of  fleet petroleum usage. Again, this lack information would imply that their executive team is not in control of their agency, again, does not appear to have a sense of urgency.

When in today’s world, from many federal positions are paid in excess to comparable business positions, it is incumbent on the federal government to do their job properly, accurately, with transparency, and be able to inform citizens of this country. At this point, Sustainability reporting and transparency is only a beginning. However, the implementation of this dashboard tool does not provide the clear answers that everyone needs to address.

Those answers should be able to give all citizens a sense of urgency and action by its government to ensure that today’s practices will not endanger future generations.  This dashboard does not provide a sense of urgency since all the reports are linked to 2010 time frame that was reported in January 2011. In line with that expectation of producing an annual report, I would have expected to see the results of 2011 since we are now in March. The dashboard, published by http://sustainability.performance.gov/, does not provide that consolidation in transparency.

Mr. Obama,  as an American citizen I ask you two basic questions:  Transparency is a key principle in Sustainability reporting. How can you possibly tell the American citizens how well your administration actually performed compared to your seven Sustainability objectives, that were outlined in Executive Order 13423, when you’re reporting mechanism doesn’t provide a consolidation or summary of previous years?  Some agencies are reporting perfect scores. How can any information be utilized when results have not been verified by an outside source such as the General Accounting Office? If not, how can this reporting system declare to have a sense of integrity or transparency? Dr. W. Edwards Deming said; “You can expect what you inspect.”

Next: From the GOP Sustainability: Where’s the beef?

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