G&A Institute Update (Issue 3, October 2011) -- US Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Reporting

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G&A Institute Update (Issue 3, October 2011) -- US Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Reporting

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 11:10am

 

G&A Institute<br />
Update

US Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Reporting
G&A Institute closely monitors the sustainability and responsibility reporting of US domestic corporations and the US-based subsidiaries of non-US companies.We also monitor sustainability and responsibility reports issued by trade and professional associations, non-profits, public sector agencies, professional practices, colleges & universities, and other types of institutions.
 
These reports carry such titles as Sustainability Report,Corporate Responsibility,Environmental Responsibility, and Corporate Citizenship,Environmental Update, and so on.
 
In the month of September we identified 15 new reports published by US organizations 13 are business entities, one is a trade association and one, a public sector agency.
 
We monitor these reports through our own networks of contacts, usingcustomized search tools, and receive reports direct from companies; we invite corporate and other reporters to notify us of their report publishing activities and to send copies of reports.
 
Many of the new reports received in September follow the Global Reporting Initiative framework; increasingly, GRI-compliant corporate reports have a Level assigned by the company issuing the report (A,B,C). In general there is a definable trend of companies and organizations publishing sustainability reports in both print and on-line editions.
 
The number of US companies publishing reports following the comprehensive GRI framework steadily increases About 20% of the Fortune 500 companies that's 1-in-5 large-cap companies -- have issued sustainability reports. Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) reporting has steadily increased over the past decade as well.
 
The GRI Framework clearly sets out the defined Disclosures and Performance Indicators that organizations can use to measure, analyze, manage and report on their economic, environmental and social performance -- and report on these to stockholders and communicate on their progress to stokeholders and key stakeholders in the US and abroad.
 
Reflecting the continuing embrace of the GRI Framework by American corporations, we monitored the following companies published reports in September 2011; the Application Level of the report is indicated where the company has elected to include this information:
 
GRI FRAMEWORK FOLLOWED DECLARED LEVELS
 
A LEVEL REPORTS
- Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) (technology company) (GRI Organization Stakeholder OS) 2011 Corporate Citizenship Report GRI Checked
- Merck USA (NYSE:MRK) (healthcare) Discovering-2010 Corporate Responsibility Report
 
B LEVEL REPORTS
- CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) (NYSE:CBG) (Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company); (commercial real estate) 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report
- Dupont (NYSE:DD) (diversified science-based company) 2011 Sustainability Progress Report; 2011 Global Reporting Initiative Report (supplement)
- Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) (medical technology) 2011 Corporate Citizenship Update (complement to 2010 published report  company reports biennially)
- Shaw Industries Group Inc. (private company; subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.) (carpet manufacturer) Corporate Sustainability Report 2010
- Sprint (NYSE:S) (communications services) 2010 Corporate Responsibility Performance Summary - see Highlights below
- Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) (Fortune 500 company;included in Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good) (computer security, storage and software products) (was every-other-year report; 2011 is first effort at annual report) 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report
 
C LEVEL REPORTS
- Daniel J. Edelman Companies (privately-owned, independent global public relations firm) FY 2011 Citizenship Report
Undeclared Level reports
- Momentive Performance Materials Holdings LLC (parent company controlled by investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC) (biofuels & specialty chemicals and materials) 2010 Sustainability Report
- Nalco Holdings (NYSE: NLC)(sustainability services company, focused on industrial water, energy and air applications) (Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes) 2010 Sustainability Report
 
Notes: The Level of the report (A, B, C) indicates the scope and extent of disclosure and selection of performance indicators and other factors. This is not a grade assigned to the report by GRI. The level is to be viewed as a description of the scope of the report what information is included, what is not. The greater the inclusion of Disclosure information and response to the frameworks key Indicators, the higher possible the Level. The plus sign (+) indicates that an independent third party Assurance Provider checked the report. The GRI-compliant reports that have a Level assigned contain a Content Index to refer the reader to specific pages where the company or institution provided responses to specific GRI framework Disclosures and Indicators.
 
In Addition to GRI-Compliant Reports
 
 PUBLIC SECTOR REPORTS NON-GRI
- [City of] Chicago Department of Aviation (airport operator) 2011 Sustainability Report
 
TRADE ASSOCIATION REPORTS NON-GRI
- Aluminum Association, Inc.(trade association for US aluminum industry; promotes aluminum as sustainable construction material)
 
CORPORATIONS - NON-GRI REPORTS ISSUED
- Cascade Engineering (family of technology, engineering, consulting and manufacturing companies; Certified B Corporation) 2010 Triple Bottom Line Report
- FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) (Dow Jones Sustainability Index) (shipping, logistics, supply chain management) 2010 Global Citizenship Update
 
 Corporate Sustainability Reporting Year-to-Date
We have identified more than 100 reports published/issued by US companies and institutions since January 1, 2011. The reports are collected by the G&A Institute team, analyzed for certain characteristics, entered into a database that is made publicly-available on our web site, and then entered into the GRI global database of reporting organizations.
 
Reports issued in 2011 and prior to June 2011 (when G&A Institute became the US Data Partner for GRI) include Northrup Grumman, PSEG, Teco Energy, Deloitte, EMC, and other companies. These reports are now entered in the G&A Institute database.
 
These additional reports in the G&A database after our September Update was distributed were from the months of January 2011 (3 new reports in the database); February (2 reports); April (1); May (3); June (2); August (5); September (15). A total of 31 reports were added in September-October in addition to the reports described in this issue of Update.
 
The G&A Institute team maintains an Excel database of 2011 reports (January through October) on our Sustainability Headquarters web platform, as reported to GRI, click here for information.
 
Global Roster
The complete global roster of reporting organizations is available at the Global Reporting Initiative web site, along with reporting statistics, and much useful information that reveals trends and patterns in reporting practice, see: http://www.globalreporting.org/ReportServices/GRIReportsList/
G&A Institute is the US Data Partner for the GRI organization. The data gathered that we gathered and analyzed in August will be added to the GRI organizations global database for reporting.
 
Reporting Highlight: Sprint
Sprint published its annual Corporate Responsibility performance summary in August and also rolled out an interactive GRI [Content] Index.The company opted not to publish a full annual CR report, but instead to publish an annual summary report against the company's CR priorities, and to ensure that the web content is always up-to-date. Sprint managers tell us that they find the annual reporting process to be too restricting, and time and cost-intensive. In other words: unsustainable.The company plans to meet with CR analysts over the coming weeks to discuss the companys reporting approach to get feedback on what is really needed and required. We suggest reading this report very comprehensive, and stakeholder-focused.
Reporting Highlight: Merck USA
Merck USA (also known as MDS outside of the USA) launched its 2010 Global Corporate Responsibility Report the first developed following the GRI framework since Merck merged with Schering-Plough in 2009. The report is available at: http://www.merckresponsibility.com/downloads/2010-Corporate-Responsibility-Overview.pdf
 
The report is themed, Discovering, to highlight Mercks commitment to discovering innovative solutions to health challenges. The report focuses on the company's (new) corporate responsibility framework.
 
Important Developmentst to Follow
Microsoft has just announced a bold plan to require Annual Sustainability Reporting by Vendors. Conversations with a major investor the New York City pension fund system, headed by elected comptroller John Liu  led to an effort to enhance the information shared about vendors commitment to social and environmental policies, programs and performance.The results will be published in Microsoft's annual Citizenship Report. The requirement begins in 2013 and will focus on the global supply chain.
Trend to Watch
Microsoft's action follows the sweeping, comprehensive changes that are taking place in the Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) supply chain, as the giant retailer implements its Green Supply Chain Managementinitiatives. Launched by the CEO in late-2005; the stated goal was to make a positive impact and greatly reduce the impact of Wal-Mart on the environment to become the most competitive and innovative company in the world.Watch for other large companies to institute their own supply chain green initiatives especially if they sell to WMT and MSFT. And the companies in the supply chain will report on their progress in print, on line and in other formats to tell the customer (WMT and MSFT) and the world about the sustainability and responsibility efforts and results.
 
Invitation
GRI is seeking input to shape the next generation of GRIs Sustainability Reporting Guidelines the G-4 (to succeed todays G-3 guidelines). The first public comment period for the fourth generation of guidelines is open and will run to 24 November 2011.GRI seeks feedback on the inclusion of proposed sustainability topics and on the potential shape of the G-4.
 
How to take part in the survey:
  1. Download and read the survey preview(in English). Suggested: Familiarize yourself with the questions, and what you want to say. The preview and survey is also available in other languages   Portuguese (Portugus), Mandarin Chinese (????) , French (Franais) and Spanish (Espaol)  from GRIs global website.

  2. When you are familiar with the survey content, access the online surveyand have your say. The survey is not long, but must be completed in one sitting it cannot be saved and returned to later.

Comments received will be considered public record and will be published in aggregate form. The names of respondents will be published, but will not be linked to individual comments. Once the Public Comment Period closes, GRI will analyze the feedback, identify broad themes, and share its responses.
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We invite managers to submit their company or organization report directly to us at: reports@ga-institute.com
 
 
For more information about the G&A Institute, please visit our web site: www.ga-institute.com.
 
G&A Institute Update is published by Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
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Governance & Accountability Institute is the Sustainability Headquarters for clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors. The G&A team provides research, monitoring, advisory and strategic information resources to clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors.
 
 
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