Aug 24, 2010

Triple Bottom Line Reporting workshop debrief

It took me a while, but I have uploaded slides from the Triple Bottom Line Reporting workshop we held in July. The first of these is the main presentation by Laura Musikanski, our Executive Director:

The second is a guest presentation by Burr Stewart, who also taught the Vizualisation Tools for Sustainability class in May. He tied the themes of the two classes together, talking about performance metrics and ways to use graphics as tools to make them more tangible and persuade people to pay attention.

Tim Abbe also gave a talk about the impacts of climate change and the kinds of decision-making we're going to have to do as climate change renders previously workable plans impractical, anchored in the example of Mount Rainier National Park's management plan having to adapt to changes in the behaviour of its rivers.

This was a very conversational class, with a lot of discussion of the material, and topic coverage really being driven by what the group showed interest in. Of course, this means that reading the slides is no substitute for being there, but we're sharing the slides so that at least some of the information can be as widely accessible as possible.

We talked a lot about measurement and reporting, the importance of standards so TBL reports can be compared with each other meaningfully (which is a problem right now), and why a company would be interested in doing this kind of disclosure, which isn't yet legally mandated. We also compared and contrasted a selection of CSR reports from

Personally, I was struck by two things from the class which made me more optimistic than I have been. One was simply how engaged and knowledgeable the group was. I still worry that the wave of sustainability awareness we're seeing is too little, too late, but it's encouraging to see just how much more widespread a good understanding of these issues is than even a couple of years ago, when I first started working with Laura on these TBL workshops. The other was seeing Nike's CSR report, dedicated to Neil Kearney, the previous head of the International Textile Garnent & Leather Workers' Federation. Not that long ago, they would have been demonising him as an obstacle to their business and here they are publicly thanking him for pushing them to improve their labour standards. If in one generation we could go from the murder of Chico Mendes to multinationals praising the gadflies who shamed them into doing better, perhaps there is hope for us.

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