Sustainability Within Reach
Controlling risks, improving profit, sustaining your business and our shared world.
Want to know about sustainability reporting and development?
You can learn what it is and how to do it in one of the courses that I teach.
– Gwendolen B. White
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainability may be defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”United Nations Brundtland Commission
To assess their progress in achieving sustainable development goals, organizations need to identify, report, and manage their impacts on environmental health, social equity, and long-term prosperity. Over the last 25 years, numerous standards and frameworks have been created as tools to help organizations minimize their negative impacts and develop their positive ones. My work involves teaching the most widely used standards and frameworks.
Which standards and frameworks do I teach?
I teach courses on the Global Reporting Initiative 2021 Standards, the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) Investor Climate Change and Supply Chain Survey, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Standards (SASB) Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Level I Exam Curriculum. To deliver these certified and licensed courses, I work with ISOS Group, a leading international provider of services for managing sustainability. ISOS Group is a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Global Training Partner, a CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) Accredited Solutions Provider, and a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Approved Education Provider.
Global Reporting Initiative Standards (GRI)
The GRI Standards are one of the most widely adopted sustainability reporting standards. They are designed for use by any organization regardless of size or sector. By adopting these standards, an organization can identify and report on their impacts on the economy, environment, and people. The GRI continues as a catalyst for change by creating the global common language for organizations to report their impacts since its founding in 1997. The Standards provide many stakeholders – including investors, policymakers, capital markets, and civil society – access to comparable and transparent disclosures about an organization’s sustainability impacts. Because this reporting is aimed at multiple stakeholders, it facilitates informed dialogue and decision-making around an organization’s impacts.
The KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting (published 26 October 2022) investigated the disclosure practices of the world’s biggest 250 companies by revenue (the G250), as well as a larger pool of the top 100 businesses in each of 58 countries (the N100). The research revealed that 78% of the G250 now adopt the GRI Standards for reporting and 68% of the 5,800 N100 companies use GRI. Many of the surveyed companies in all regions (75% in the Americas, 68% in Asia-Pacific and Europe, 62% in the Middle East & Africa) used the GRI Standards.
CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP initially began with a carbon emissions questionnaire, but now includes reporting questionnaires for water and forests. Its approach is to create a sustainable economy by getting for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations to measure and act on their environmental impacts. Over the last 20 years, CDP established a system of in-depth environmental reporting that has engaged global organizations to address the world’s significant environmental challenges.
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Reporting Standards
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards provide guidance on how companies can disclose financially material sustainability information to their investors. These standards are available for 77 industries, allowing for companies to focus on environmental, social, and governance issues that are most relevant to financial performance in each industry. SASB offers the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential. With this credential, professionals obtain knowledge and skills to link financially material sustainability information to a company’s ability to drive enterprise value.
I have taught sustainability reporting to professionals and college students for over ten years and have supervised the preparation of a number of sustainability reports. I have a Ph.D. in Accounting from Indiana University, have taught accounting at two universities, have worked for a major accounting firm, and have been a CPA in the state of Indiana. Furthermore, I am the author of several professional papers in accounting and have published two books on sustainability reporting. It is a great privilege to be able to teach sustainability and help others on their path to better managed companies.
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”Margaret Fuller, author (23 May 1810-1850)