I see Google have published an article o…

I see Google have published an article on their ambitions to achieve carbon neutrailty . It is not a bad piece (if you ignore the strong emphasis on offsets).

However, what is supremely disappointing is Google’s complete lack of any attempt at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. Most significant IT companies have a CSR site with downloadable CSR reports. Most conform to the Global Reporting Initiative standards.

The only significant IT player I found who doesn’t do any sustainability reporting whatsoever is Amazon! Obviously Amazon doesn’t believe in sustainability.


April 13th GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show

Here is a recording of today’s GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show complete with the chatstream below:

04:31 TomRaftery : About to kick off
04:32 TomRaftery : Can you see & hear me ok?
04:33 TomRaftery : Hello?
04:33 ustreamer-36203 : Hi Tom
04:33 ustreamer-36203 : Andrew Newton of APEsphere here
04:34 ustreamer-36203 : yep, all good
04:35 ustreamer-39040 : I can see and hear ya. Just have to log in – This is Suki
04:37 TomRaftery :
04:37 ustreamer-13870 : Den here..
04:37 ustreamer-13870 : Ola todos
04:39 TomRaftery :
04:40 TomRaftery :
04:43 ustreamer-13870 : Wonder if SAP will try doing the same thing as MSFT?
04:44 TomRaftery :
04:44 Suki_Fuller : I’ve gotten sucked into the Zigbee newsletter – liking this thing
04:46 ustreamer-13870 : RyanAir are the world’s worst airline IMO
04:47 Suki_Fuller : Nah – Delta
04:47 ustreamer-13870 : It’s a flying shopping mall
04:47 TomRaftery :
04:48 ustreamer-13870 : I will do almost anything to avoid flying RyanAir (anyhooo – good for them in dropping prices)
04:50 TomRaftery :
04:51 TomRaftery :
04:55 Suki_Fuller : They seem to be going backwards in all regards apparently
04:55 ustreamer-36203 : Another Amazon CSR blinder from today:
04:55 TomRaftery :
04:55 Suki_Fuller : That better be tap water
04:57 TomRaftery :
04:57 TomRaftery :
04:59 TomRaftery :
05:05 TomRaftery :
05:07 TomRaftery : Anyone anything else to talk about?
05:07 Suki_Fuller : Us UK people over here had to get up.
05:07 Suki_Fuller : In US
05:07 Suki_Fuller : UK people in US
05:08 Suki_Fuller : Thank you Tom as always learned much
05:08 TomRaftery : Over and out – thanks everyone for a great show
05:09 TomRaftery : Thank you Suki


SAP’s Environmental Health and Safety Management solution

In the third part of my interview with SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Peter Graf, we discuss SAP’s Environmental Health and Safety Management solution.

Why is this important? Several reasons:
– employee health and safety,
– compliance with constantly changing EHS regulations (REACH, and WEEE for example),
– increasing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and from SAP’s perspective,
– annual investment in EHS solutions between 2008 and 2010 is expected to reach $80bn.

Sustainability isn’t just about carbon footprints – it is great to see SAP helping its large customer base be better corporate citizens.


Corporate Social Responsibility – tech companies reviewed!

Corporate Social Responsibility

According to its Wikipedia definition, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment. This obligation is seen to extend beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation and sees organizations voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large.

Companies are now starting to report on their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in greater numbers. Drivers for this include the rise in ethical consumerism, socially responsible investing, employee recruitment and loyalty, changing laws and regulations, increased scrutiny and transparency and risk mitigation.

According to the Sustainable Investment Research Analyst’s (SIRAN) 2008 report (pdf warning):

  • 86 of the S&P 100 companies now have corporate sustainability websites, compared to 58 in mid-2005, an increase of 48 percent;
  • 49 of the leading U.S. companies produced a sustainability report in 2007, an increase of 26 percent from 39 in 2005

In an attempt to define standards and make these reports cross-comparable, the Global Reporting Initiative has come up with a sustainability reporting framework. According to Wikipedia:

The GRI Guidelines are the most common framework used in the world for reporting. More than 1000 organizations from 60 countries use the Guidelines to produce their sustainability reports.

A quick search of tech sites reveals:
IBM’s stellar Corporate Responsibility site – IBM’s site has a ton of good information and a downloadable CSR report (pdf) and includes the Global Reporting initiative (GRI) index. If there is a tech company with a better CSR site than this, please tell me, I haven’t found it yet!

From the Dell site you can see dell has been producing Sustainability reports back to 1998 (called Environment reports back then). The 2008 CSR report (pdf) is linked to from the company Values page and is a really good example of how to do these reports well.

SAP’s Sustainability site is pretty bare bones (and though found by Google, I couldn’t find a link to it on the corporate website! Having said that, their Sustainability report (pdf), linked to from their Sustainability site, is very good for a first effort. It includes a GRI index and while SAP admit that the report is prepared to GRI Application Level C, they give a commitment to producing a “report to GRI B+ standard externally assured and audited in second quarter 2009”.

Cisco’s CSR site includes a great 5 minute video on CSR from Cisco CEO John Chambers and some of his CSR related staff. Unfortunately the video is not embeddable and is all rights reserved or I would embed it here 🙁 Cisco’s CSR 2008 report is available in a Flash interactive version or the more traditional (and easier to consume) pdf version! Again this report has a GRI index included.

Sun’s excellent CSR site includes a podcast, lots of great links to relevant information and its superb 2008 CSR report (pdf) – again with the GRI index data.

Oracle also has a good CSR site. Oracle’s site links to its 2008 Corporate Citizenship report (pdf) but it doesn’t include a GRI index link.

HP’s Global Citizenship site looks good until you check out their CSR report – it dates to financial year 2007 (which ended October 31, 2007). In its defense, it does include a GRI index but guys, come on, 2007?

Neither Intel nor AMD have reports for 2008. But while Intel have a very comprehensive downloadable pdf report on their CSR initiatives for 2007, the AMD offering consists of a disappointing four tables of performance indicators across the last few years.

If you are looking for Microsoft’s CSR report, you will find it buried under Resource Center -> Awards and Reports -> now click on the Reports tab on their Corporate Citizenship site. The most recent report is dated 2007-08. It is a 5 page document of mostly images, there is no mention whatsoever of GRI, there is no executive involvement, and in comparison to previous years reports, it looks like Microsoft’s limited focus on CSR has waned completely.

Having said that, at least Microsoft has produced a report! Apple didn’t even do that. When As You Sow, recently tabled a shareholder resolution that would require Apple to publish a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, The company issued a proxy filing asking shareholders to vote against this resolution, saying that the publication would be an unnecessary expense that would “produce little added value.”

Having said that, at least Apple have a section on their site dedicated to their environmental efforts, Amazon don’t even appear to do that. Their filed reports page makes no effort to include any reports about environmental stewardship or corporate citizenship although given the story which came out before Christmas about Amazon’s shocking employment practices, that can hardly be any surprise.

Ironically Google’s CSR efforts are supremely difficult to find! They do have a corporate website dedicated to their Green Initiatives but like Apple, they too don’t have any CSR report (that I could find!).

Who’d I miss? Who is better? Who is worse?

Original photo by ATIS547


GreenMonk talks Sustainability with IBM’s Stan Litow


Photo Credit ChicagoEye


My guest on this podcast is Stan Litow. Stan is IBM’s VP for Corporate Affairs and Corporate Citizenship.

IBM recently issued their 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report. It is an extremely interesting, very comprehensive overview of IBM’s work in this space. You can download the entire report here (PDF warning!).

Having gone through the report, I was interested to discuss it with Stan and he graciously agreed to come on the show and gave a fascinating look at some of the thinking behind IBM’s initiatives in this space.

Download the entire interview here
(20.3mb mp3)


Sustainability/Energy Agenda Accelerates

People ask about greenwashing and vendor hypocrisy. I don’t see it like that. If resources are being applied to managing electricity demand, or addressing broader sustainability issues, that is all to the good. The space is heating up almost as fast as the planet.

Today IBM announced a swathe of services and tools, and is clearly beginning to tie together its various IT energy management strands. Thus for example, it touts data center efficiency:

IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager (AEM) tracks energy consumption in data centers and helps customers monitor power usage and make adjustments to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The new software allows IT managers to control — even set caps on — their energy use for servers, storage, and networking as well as the air conditioning and power management systems that keep the data center running.

IBM is also pushing into certification. I think the firm needs to think bigger though and to take on bigger challenges (not often I say that). Data center energy optimisation is interesting, but IBM should be looking at driving power improvements in supply chains, manufacturing plants, building central heating and so on. IT currently accounts for around 3% of world energy consumption. Lets get to work on the other 97%.

Nortel is going after Cisco “ruthlessly” based on better power performance of its gear. This is the most agressive use of a energy benchmarking I have seen so far in the industry. Great – bring on competition on the basis of power consumption.

I am liking SAS pitching its BI tools for the triple bottom line. with Global Reporting Initiative indicators and KPIs based relating to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Excellent! I need to go chat to SAS – a very interesting privately held firm with a real culture of innovation and a high R&D budget to match. I wonder if they talked about this today at the

Boston is going green, which I am sure Stephen will appreciate.

With the triple bottom line in mind The FT reported yesterday that “The German government plans to make the country’s first trademark for good business behaviour, as a complement to “Made in Germany” as a respected global brand.”

Today my old mucker Dennis Howlett has been in Boston with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and a number of software companies discussing sustainability rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Next week at Sapphire 2008 in Orlando, SAP is hosting AccountAbility,  (BSR), and the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) in launching a dialogue on sustainability. I have been involved in planning, web 2.0 support, and will join the dialogue in Berlin. I’d like to see SAP in future set up industry vertical sustainability groups based on its successful Industry Value Network program, for best practice sharing. James?

GreenMonk appreciates change needs to be top down, as well as bottom up. All this of activity is goodness. We need to move on, and watching CSR evolve from a PR initiative to one driving corporate strategy is pleasing.

Climate Change
Creative Commons License photo credit: openDemocracy