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Cisco, HP, and Intel Score Highest on Sustainability Reporting . . . Apple, Google?

April 29, 2010 by Kailani Joy

In a recent report by EcoStrategy Group on the top 200 Bay Area companies sustainability reporting efforts Cisco, Intel, and HP all scored in the Top Tier. Apple on the other hand came in relatively high in rank but what doed that rank truly represent for them? Environmental Leader reports that Apple focuses on "providing environmental reports on its newest products, though it has fought off shareholder calls for the company to establish a “sustainability” report on the company’s environmental policies and the impact of climate change on its business"

Only 25 percent of the 200 companies issued sustainability communications of some kind, although reporting rose to 60 percent for the largest companies with revenue of $1 billion or higher. EcoStrategy states that "a recent McKinsey & Co. global survey found that 20% of executives don't have a clear definition of sustainability". Imagine if they did . . . or more importantly, if they understood what steps to take to attain sustainability within their company and they executed on it?

EcoStrategy Group rated the companies on 14 attributes of which four — materiality (most significant sustainability issues for the company and its stakeholders), stakeholder inclusiveness, target setting and tracking and completeness– were given the greatest weight. Other attributes include balance, accuracy, reliability, comparability, clarity, timeliness, context, a statement of management commitment, and coverage of supply chain and end use impacts.

EcoStrategy - Sustainability Reporting 2010

One finding shows that a lack of standards around sustainability reporting gives companies tremendous flexibility in how they report their sustainability efforts. Some like Adobe will focus on buildings while others like Apple will focus on the environmental footprint of their products."

The report also provides valuable recommendations to help these companies do a better job of reporting and attaining sustainabie efforts. Recommendations include gaining management commitment, understanding stakeholders, benchmarking your company’s reporting and creating strong internal processes for a reporting roadmap.

Let's hope that with the help of groups like EcoStrategy and West Coast Green's new consulting services, these large companies can finally start attaining, reporting, and truly living up to higher caliber of standards of "sustainability" . . . also known as "the successful balancing of economic prosperity, environmental health, and social equity" or a healthy triple bottom line.

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