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August 19, 2007


Mark McElroy

Hi Joel:

Good report, thanks. I’d like to point out that corporate risk of any kind arises from the crossing a line of some kind, be it a regulatory one, a social norm, or just common sense. Thus, the problem with mainstream sustainability reporting, in general, is that the lines, or standards of performance, are rarely included. To simply report emissions of GHGs is not to tell anyone about whether they were above or below norms, rules, treaties, or ecological thresholds. So how are we supposed to know whether an organization’s operations were sustainable when all they do is tell us the volume of emissions? The issue here is 'context', or rather the absence of it in mainstream sustainability reporting, including GRI.

It is perhaps worth noting that only the ACCA/FTSE report you discussed acknowledged the issue of context as a factor in their reporting. Still, their use of the term was not quite what I have in mind here. For GHG emissions reporting, for example, the bottom-line issue is did your emissions comply with a mainstream climate change mitigation plan or not? ACCA/FTSE speak in terms of policy context and data context, but not really climate change mitigation context. We know of only one company in the world that is actually reporting its emissions against a standard for returning GHG concentrations to safe levels: Ben & Jerry’s here in Vermont. Anyone wanting to know more about that can contact me for more information.




Great post!

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