Strong Statements in Sustainability Reports
In preparation for an internal meeting this week, I have been reviewing some reports that are going to send me home full of optimism tonight.
The Ecosystems Markets Task Force is a key commitment from the UK Government’s Natural Environment White Paper. The task force’s November 2012 interim report states right up front in the executive summary that “business depends on nature”; not just the harder nosed ‘resources’ word that I prefer to use in a business context, but actually on ‘nature.’ Task force membership includes the Chair/CEO and CFO’s from companies such as Kingfisher, United Utilities, Unilever and Jaguar/Land Rover.
So a few execs on a government task force are making strong statements, but does that carry through to the financial world? Well it does. Is Natural Capital a Material Issue is “an evaluation of the relevance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to accountancy professionals and the private sector” produced recently by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Flora and Fauna International and KPMG. Helen Brand, Chief Executive of the ACCA reinforces “the growing realisation that all economic activity is either directly or indirectly linked to natural capital, and action is needed” and goes on to suggest formal accountancy-based frameworks for measuring and assessing and reporting the impacts.
And do our corporate executives really put their own individual stamps and actions behind these ideas? They do. The Future of Reporting by The Carbon Disclosure Project features a company perspective by BT’s CFO Tony Chanmugam. He says that “reporting needs to frame and illuminate the global challenge of increasing population and consumption that is bringing break-point pressure on finite environmental resources”.
While I see plenty of things to worry about, I see good reason to be optimistic, too. Connecting the dots on these reports from a government task force, through a report by the accountancy profession to one example of commitment from amongst many individual executives is a promising note on which to finish my day today.
Other Posts by Kevin Moss
Sustainable Business Forum