Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Corporate Sustainability Reports: Making the Grade

I saw an interesting report on by way of the folks at

More and more companies are publishing triple bottom line reports, and are submitting their reports for the Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Sustainability Reporting. Check out the Report of the Judges (PDF) which shows the strengths (and weaknesses) of the applicant reports.

From the news report:

Over the past six years, entries into the Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Sustainability Reporting have grown five-fold from 20 in its first year to 102 this year. This increase reflects the significant growth in companies publishing sustainability reports. With the increased calls from consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders for greater corporate transparency and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) publishing the third version of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in 2006, more companies from all sectors are creating these reports to explain and document their economic, environmental, and social performance.

Besides the sheer increase in the number of companies writing sustainability reports and entering the Ceres-ACCA Awards, Ceres points to the increase in comprehensiveness and the quality of information provided. “In the early days, most reports were either exclusively environmental in focus, on the one hand, or essentially foundation or philanthropy reports, on the other,” reported Brooke Barton, Manager, Corporate Accountability at Ceres.

Barton told, “Today, more than 80% of the submissions are full-blown sustainability reports referencing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and providing triple bottom line – social, environmental and economic – disclosure. This marks a sea change in the way companies are approaching sustainability. More and more, they are managing, measuring, and reporting on their sustainability performance in an integrated fashion that reflects the truly interconnected nature of these issues.” ...

Almost half (49) of the US companies in the S&P 100 Index now disclose information above and beyond the financial, covering companies’ environmental, social, and governance issues, according to the Social Investment Research Analysts Network (SIRAN) and KLD Research & Analytics (KLD), who released their annual study on sustainability reporting at the April Ceres Conference. Thirty-eight of the S&P 100 Index are using the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. ...

“Sustainability reports can provide a glimpse of how a company sees itself,” explained Katy Chapdelaine, a research analyst at KLD. “However, to provide investors with a full perspective on company performance, analysts at KLD utilize a range of sources outside of company publications, including press coverage, government data, and information from non-governmental organizations.”

“Now, just under half of the widely watched companies in the S&P 100 issued sustainability reports in 2006. By next year, I expect a majority of the S&P 100 will be doing so, and increasingly sustainability reporting will be the norm and not reporting will be the exception,” said Steve Lippman, Vice President of Asset Research at Trillium Asset Management, who worked with KLD to develop this year's study.


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