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Business Sustainable Development Reporting Guide

The Why And How For Business Sustainable Development Reporting

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) today released a guide outlining the business case and guidelines for Sustainable Development Reporting (SDR). This guide was produced with the support of the Ministry for the Environment.

SDR, sometimes known as triple bottom line reporting, is the process of collecting and publicly presenting information describing a company’s environmental, social, and financial performance. SDR provides a clearer picture, than traditional isolated financial reporting, of a company’s long-term viability.

“Business does not operate in a vacuum, and companies that embrace sustainable development are finding that they have a better understanding of how their business is affected by other areas of society,” says NZBCSD Chairman Stephen Tindall. “SDR provides a means for publicly presenting our values and achievements, and for initiating dialogue with stakeholders. The shared understanding that can result from the SDR process has many positive spin offs for business.”

“As a result of The Warehouse’s 2001 SDR, and reported activities, it was selected as a FTSE4Good Developed Index constituent stock. This meant that a number of large ethical index funds were required to buy Warehouse shares, directly resulting in a share price increase of about 5%. On a market capitalisation of $2 billion that is value worth having“ Tindall said.

The SDR Guide responds to a need identified by NZBCSD members, and draws on work from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and other leading international insights. The guide also summarises the experiences of 7 NZBCSD member companies who have already produced SDRs. These companies are: City Care Ltd, Hubbard Foods, Interface Agencies, Sanford, Urgent Couriers, Watercare Services, and The Warehouse. BP NZ is currently finalising their first NZ report and their experiences are also described.

The project champions were Richard Lauder, CEO, City Care; Nick Main, CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu; Andy Pearce, CEO, Landcare Research and Rodger Spiller, MD, Money Matters.

“SDR is a key driver to delivering on our aspirations. It helps us identify areas where we are doing well and areas where we need to improve. It allows us to commit to a greater level of accountability to deliver on these goals and it opens up a unique dialogue opportunity with our biggest critics or biggest fans due to our good or bad performance”. PETER GRIFFITHS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BP (NZ) LTD

“The benefits of SDR are many. We have already started to use the information we have gathered to help us run our business in better ways. We are identifying risks to our business and assessing ways to transport our products more efficiently. We are cutting waste and becoming simply better at what we are doing” ROBB DONZE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERFACE AGENCIES

“Our report is a milestone for Urgent Couriers as it provides a basis by which the company can measure its successes and identify areas where it needs to improve its performance.” STEVE BONNICI, MANAGING DIRECTOR URGENT COURIERS

“Our report has taken some soul searching on our behalf and also, I believe, some bravery. In business we have been traditionally taught to only present the company in the best possible light, particularly to that important group of stakeholders – the customer. It’s hard to be honest and self critical in a public way. It’s easy to highlight your successes but hard to highlight your failures and your areas for improvement” DICK HUBBARD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HUBBARD FOODS

“After a decade of environmental reporting, Watercare’s transition to SDR has evolved and now drives an internally focused improvement programme across all aspects of the company.” MARK FORD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WATERCARE

“Since embarking on our project of producing reports that more accurately reflect the impact City Care has as a business, staff have become far more adept at addressing financial performance issues in ways where social and environmental outcomes are improved at the same time." RICHARD LAUDER, CEO, CITY CARE LTD

" At Deloitte we are convinced that 'what gets measured gets managed'. The rigour required in developing external reports helps develop a thorough understanding of an organisation’s footprint in the economy, the environment and the community. It helps identify areas where changes can be made for the greatest impact. It reinforces what is important to a wide group of stakeholders." NICK MAIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU

"Sustainable development is our business. So it's essential that we practice what we preach by reporting our own journey to improve sustainability. Reporting has required us to measure things like resource and energy use. Those measurements make it possible to manage our direct impacts much better.

Reporting has also enhanced our ability to improve the sustainability of other organisations by identifying and working on issues that can make the greatest impact on sustainable development for New Zealand." ANDY PEARCE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, LANDCARE RESEARCH

Four NZBCSD members – Landcare Research, Urgent Couriers, Watercare Services and the Warehouse have received awards for their SDR’s from the NZ institute of charted accountants (ICANZ).

The NZBCSD is a coalition of 42 leading businesses united by a shared commitment to sustainable development. The NZBCSD mission is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change toward sustainable development, and to promote eco-efficiency, innovation and responsible entrepreneurship. NZBCSD members believe that Sustainable Development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.

The Business Guide to Sustainable Development Reporting is intended for businesses of all sizes, for use when developing their first SDR. The guide and participant case studies are available in hardcopy from the NZBCSD or on the website at www.nzbcsd.org.nz/sdr.

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