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  • andrea 4:29 am on April 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , G4, , materiality, , , transparency   

    Electrolux: sustainability gets strategic 

    Already a veteran reporter and multi-year DJSI world sector leader, Electrolux aims to raise the bar again with its 2014 corporate sustainability report. Front and centre this year is a renewed focus on material issues – the company’s biggest impacts, what matters most to stakeholders, and where it can make the biggest difference. The result? 10 key areas where the global appliance manufacturer intends to drive competitive advantage and considers high performance a condition of doing business, cementing sustainability squarely at the heart of the business strategy.

    You can check out the 2014 report here. And as part of the team behind it, we’d love your feedback!

    Electrolux says sustainability is like a decathlon - you have to excel at many things to be top of your game.

    Electrolux says sustainability is like a decathlon – you have to excel at many things to be top of your game.

  • Fran 4:40 pm on November 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , transparency   

    The road to 24/7 transparency 

    On November 9th Forbes announced that transparency will become the most important marketing tool in 2015. It’s a trend the sustainability reporting world has been encouraging for some time, with mixed results.

    Real progress was evident at the recent Ethical Corporation Reporting Summit last week where transparency was the leitmotif for the whole event. So much so that when it came to voting for the best submission in the CSR reporting X factor session, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) romped home with the prize, trouncing Bloomberg and and British supermarket chain Tesco. RBS’ decisive win is largely down to its disarming mea culpa about past mistakes and honesty around future investigations, enforcements and litigation. As the audience voted and the judge made his pronouncement, a murmur of “how did they get that past the lawyers?” swept the room. RBS proved that with determination and top-level commitment you can, and that honesty is a winning strategy.

    Lisa Stewart picks up the X factor reporting award for RBS

    Lisa Stewart picks up the X factor reporting award for RBS

    But the transparency agenda is moving fast and in contrast to once-a-year disclosure typical of traditional sustainability reporting, demands for greater openness are constant. Indeed Forbes says “Next year the best brands won’t be those with the best stories, or sort of made up fictional stories, but those that will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.” And the same goes for the interests of other stakeholders according Oliver Hurrey, MD at the 2degrees network. Social media is set to play a central role, offering many channels for people to demand the truth and giving companies multi-stranded opportunities for innovative, engaging and honest corporate communications. Welcome to stakeholder dialogue, 21st century style.

    • Fran 6:10 pm on November 19, 2014 Permalink

      Serendipity! See also report from SustainAbility due out December 5th called See Change: How the Future of Transparency can Drive Performance and Value

  • andrea 2:21 am on November 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Apple, Big Data, , , ICT industry, Privacy, , transparency, US government   

    Big Apple takes on Big Data: Apple champions consumers’ Right to Know 

    First Wikileaks, then Edward Snowdon now Apple? With its recent Report on Government Information Requests, 2013’s most valuable brand is turning the transparency tables – on governments.

    On November 5th, Apple Inc issued a short 7-page pdf report. Its focus: the growing number of requests the company is receiving from governments to disclose information on customer accounts and specific devices. Covering the period January 1st-June 30th 2013, the report is Apple’s first in an industry increasingly in the spotlight over privacy and personal data issues following global uproar over data mining.

    apple_logo“We believe,” Apple writes, “that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available.”

    The report is interesting in two regards. First, because it puts customer interests front and centre – drawing attention to the way personal data is used by third parties without consent. In the first half of this year alone, Apple received 719 requests from countries as diverse as Belarus and Brazil. With the growing trend towards data retention legislation, this is an issue that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

    Second is the way Apple uses the report to take a strong advocacy stand against US government restrictions that prevent it disclosing details of these requests. The restrictions’ impact is clear from the first of the report’s two charts, where the US is both the country with the highest number of information requests and the only country for which exact figures cannot be given, since Apple is obliged to print a consolidated range in increments of 1000. Apple doesn’t mince its words on the US stance: “We strongly oppose this gag order [and have] made the case for relief from these restrictions in meetings and discussions with the White House, the US Attorney General, congressional leaders and the courts.”

    After years of companies being in the firing line of demands for greater transparency, this time it’s the turn of the state. Rather than go the legal route, Apple hopes to change US policy through dialogue and advocacy; “We will continue to aggressively pursue our ability to be more transparent.”

    With over 700m IOS devices in the market, striking the right balance between matters of national security and crime prevention on the one hand, and personal freedom and human rights on the other is a huge societal challenge. Some great suggestions include allowing personal data to be collected – but in  an encrypted form – which authorities could access via a ‘digital search warrant’ if the need arose.

    By publishing this report, Apple takes a first step towards finding a better balance.

  • Astrid von Schmeling 9:16 am on May 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: stakeholder dialog, transparency, , United Nations Global Compact   

    Do as I say, not as I do 

    ”He that gives good advice builds with one hand. He that gives good counsel and example builds with both,” said 16th century English philosopher Francis Bacon. It would seem the UN Global Compact is in need of a second hand.

    For Executive Director Georg Kell, UNGC stated values of transparency, dialog and accountability apparently don’t apply to how the UNGC is governed.

    In his annual letter to members from January, Kell announced a radical change in the organizations’ funding strategy–shifting its model from voluntary to mandatory membership fees. No dialogue was held with UNGC signatories prior to the decision—not even with its own Local Networks. There was no transparency on why the funding strategy was developed and how the money would be used. His letter was, however, accompanied by an invoice for up to USD 15,000 for signatories with a large turnover.


    Photo by Hortulus at Flickr

    Though most companies fully understand the need for the UNGC to adjust its income to an ever-expanding organization with an urgent agenda, signatories found reason to question the way the UNGC approached this issue. During a Local Network meeting in Geneva two weeks ago, Kell’s letter was the center of debate and meeting participants voiced the need for an inclusive approach when addressing the organization’s strategic issues.

    The epilogue? Kell has since backed down and his proposal has been temporarily suspended. The UNGC is now committed to working with its Local Networks on developing a revised collaborative funding model that is to be presented to signatories in September.

    One’s own advice is sometimes the hardest to take, Mr. Kell, but mistakes like these will take years from which to recover. The additional income will come in handy to fund all the stakeholder dialogue you’ll need to recapture the trust you’ve lost over the last couple of months.

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