MOOC @ Bath : Sustainability for Professionals : Week 3 reflection

This week : Reporting standards

Good to go through some of these standards. Until recently I was mainly on the “environmental” side of sustainability, but I have learned to appreciate the social aspect of sustainability.

One thing that keeps coming to my mind, and that is something I hope will come back later in the course, is tooling for delving into the really fundamental questions around sustainability:
“Is (part of) my company / our industry itself at all sustainable?” and if not (because I am a coal mine or lil company) what can we do to reinvent ourselves, be open and honest about that and show the world that we really care.

It’s of course really easy for me to ask these questions because I am not a player (yet) but these are the type of questions that keep me wake at night.

(Some of) the Standards

EMAS – EU management tooling framework for Environmental Reporting and company policy making. Requires registration. Currently (3-2014) 4500 members.

ISO26000 – social Responsibility framework (not certifiable)
BS8900 – sustainable Management (British)
SA8000 – Social accountability

Other reporting standards
PAS2060 (carbon reporting)
ISO 20121 – Management entertainment industry
ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System (integral part of EMAS)
BES 6001 – Responsible SOURCING of construction materials

On labeling schemes
Marine Stewardship Council, Fairtrade and other “labels” are intended to help consumers make a “wise choice”, but are they really??

One issue I see with these labels is that they are “product oriented”, you as a consumer are making a choice between brand A and B. So you read that this meat is “from better kept animals”, but there are no “meta labels” saying “eating meat is far mor damaging to the environment than eating beans and mushrooms”. The latter is necessary to grow to a “sustainable” food supply, “better kept animals” are not going to save the planet.

Far fetched idea to mitigate this: The supermarket as a whole would need to re-zone their aisles with color codes : RED-floor meaning, don’t buy this stuff if you care about sustainability, and GREEN-floor saying, it’s OK to fill your baskets here. Doubt if it would be a very successful formula though 🙂

Stakeholders and stakeholder engagement
The most interesting part of this MOOC until now : stakeholder engagement standard AA1000ses. It defines a process on how to plan, implement, react and report on stakeholder engagement. GOOD STUFF!

Ideas from fellow student Geoffrey Rowlands on changes required to implement CSR:

William Bridges is one of the change/transition educators that I admire. He is able to boil complex approaches down to simple questions or steps like:
1. What is changing?
2. What will be different because of the change?
3. Who’s going to lose what?

“Change” is an event. “Transition” is the evolving process of individuals adapting to the change.

Or the 4 “P’s” that I have used numerous times. Purpose, Picture, Plan, Part.

I’ll quote the slide of implementing CSR-sustainability policies in companies because I will want to look this up often

“Practical considerations include:

phased development and implementation
recognition of the need for identifying priorities
keeping the strategy simple and practical
starting with easy wins
recognising the need for a long planning process upfront”

All in all a very good week, I learned a lot and have lots of new ideas I can chew on!!



Eén reactie op “MOOC @ Bath : Sustainability for Professionals : Week 3 reflection”

  1. Hi Lars, with pleasure I read your posts on sustainability you are distributing in an increasing pace. Indeed great stuff. I wasn’t aware of this stakeholder engagement document. The PDF is very straight forward and detailed. Is this mandatory for Fortune 500 Companies?

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