Ernst & Young LLP on Sustainability Reporting at 2012 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

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Ernst & Young LLP on Sustainability Reporting at 2012 International Corporate Citizenship Conference

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Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 3:30pm

Ernst & Young LLP was featured on Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship's News & Features blog for the firm's participation in the 2012 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. Tim Wilson, editor and writer for Boston College Center, summarized highlights from the event, including the following item on Ernst & Young LLP's keynote:

Sustainability: Bottom Line Impact

Monday’s final keynote session featured a team from Ernst & Young. Beth Rosemond, Assistant Director of Corporate Responsibility, facilitated a conversation by her colleagues Brendan LeBlanc, Executive Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, and Leisha John, Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability, where they discussed the findings of the Ernst & Young and GreenBiz Group Survey on Sustainability Reporting.

LeBlanc, who works with Ernst & Young clients on sustainability, and John, who is responsible for the firm’s internal sustainability efforts, offered their perspective on growing trends in corporate sustainability. LeBlanc was particularly struck by two of the top three sustainability drivers cited by those surveyed. The fact that cost reduction was the leading driver came as no surprise to the two accountants. But LeBlanc said it was particularly noteworthy that the No. 2 driver was “meeting stakeholder expectations” followed by “managing risk,” calling this fertile ground for corporate citizenship professionals to make the case for their efforts.

John and LeBlanc shared how the survey reflects what is happening at Ernst & Young and presented six key findings:

  1. The CFO’s role in sustainability is on the rise.
  2. Despite regulatory uncertainty, greenhouse gas reporting remains strong, along with growing interest in water.
  3. Sustainability reporting is growing but the tools are still developing.
  4. Awareness is on the rise regarding the scarcity of business resources.
  5. Employees emerge as a key stakeholder group for sustainability programs and reporting.
  6. Rankings and ratings matter to company executives.

Asked what advice she could offer companies on their sustainability efforts, John responded that “meaningful metrics are crucial” to creating increased credibility.

LeBlanc offered a corollary to the wisdom of measuring what you manage. “Figure out what it is you want to manage,” he said, stressing the need for a “stakeholder materiality analysis” starting with employees. He added that the sooner corporate citizenship professionals can connect the dots between long-term value creating and their sustainability efforts the better.

Please click here to read the full blog post.