Large publicly traded companies, some worth more than entire countries, are often demonised for their impact on society and the planet. Critics point out that corporations are beholden to the Gods of ever-increasing profits and higher dividends, pushing sustainability to the sidelines. But it's clear that their participation is critical to the success of sustainability.
Corporations' business structures might just provide them with the potential to implement social and environmental solutions that could rival or exceed those of governments and the non-profit sector.
Earlier this year, German software company SAP released its first integrated report, which combined its annual and sustainability reports. The integrated report shows the interconnectedness of the company's financial performance and its management of human and natural resources.
"An integrated report isn't just a matter of reporting metrics for both areas side-by-side," SAP's chief sustainability officer Peter Graf told me. "It takes years of consensus building at the highest levels of the company about what matters to your business and how you measure the company's performance. It's opened our executives' eyes to the financial impact sustainability can have when placed at the core of our business." Graf estimates SAP's sustainability initiatives have cumulatively saved the company €240m.
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KEYWORDS: Environment, Reporting, Ratings & Rankings, SAP, sustainability, Integrated Reporting, csr, Peter Graff