Monthly Archives: March 2016

Be part of the growing CSR reporting trend!


Background story: The majority of our blog posts deals with CSR topics; we write about the latest developments in this field and try to relate it to a company’s daily business. Our background stories have a different perspective: Here, we explain trends, scientific background and societal implications of corporate sustainability – sometimes with a personal touch.

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You already have heard this acronym at work, and even came across a CSR report, and you will hear even more. Indeed, CSR reporting is growing.

CSR reporting is a communication tool on dedicated topics.

You may wonder: what is CSR reporting? There are different scientific and accepted definitions. Our definition is: any documentation related to the company’s management and performance regarding social and environmental topics that is disclosed publicly, and which aims at informing the stakeholders of how the companies manage the impacts towards them.

A stakeholder is said to be any party affected by the organization’s operations: shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, local communities, civil society, industry, government… CSR reporting is then a tool to communicate the organization’s efforts to the impacted stakeholders.

We identified some of the main CSR reporting schemes

To bring more value to your reporting, you can use reporting standards and schemes. Although there are many CSR schemes, standards, ratings, we chose to focus on the ones which are leading in terms of influence and companies participating and which are not-for-profit organizations. The following list is then not exhaustive.

Regarding environmental reporting, you can choose to answer the CDP questionnaire, on water, climate change, or forest management. CDP[1] (Carbon Disclosure Project) is an NGOs collecting environmental data to ensure transparency to decision-makers like investors or clients.

To structure your CSR report, you can opt for two options: use the framework suggested by the United Global Compact, or use the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Guidelines.

When you adhere to the UNGC 10 principles[2], you have then to report your progress on a Communication On Progress. This can be a good idea for beginners, as this communication offers a structure which is not too much stringent.

Read our article for a full overview: https://blog.dfge.de/2015/01/29/un-global-compact-dfge-publishes-2015-cop-report/

For more experienced reporters we will suggest to use GRI Guidelines[3], where companies can identify the topics which are the most relevant for them and their stakeholders, and then report specific indicators accordingly (see our blog article for more information: https://blog.dfge.de/2015/11/25/understand-gri-in-2-minutes/).

CSR reporting has grown steadily over the past fifteen years

Over the past decade, CSR reporting has become mainstream. The figures show that the use of internationally recognized standards and schemes is steadily growing. This can be explained by the fact that these initiatives are multi-stakeholder, hence they are more objective than a stand-alone reporting. They also provide guidance and structure which can help the company identify gaps to improve on some areas.

GRI trends

(data extracted from the search function of GRI database, http://database.globalreporting.org/search)

UNGC trends

(data extracted from UNGC infographic Communication on progress, 2015 key facts,https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/communication_on_progress/cop-key-facts-2015.pdf)

CDP, in its 2015 activity report, indicates that they analyzed 1799 responses in 2010 against 1997 in 2015, showing also a growing participation. The number of signatories has also been increasing.CDP trends

(data extracted from CDP Global Climate Change Report 2015, https://www.cdp.net/CDPResults/CDP-global-climate-change-report-2015.pdf )

It means that companies have an advantage to report through these schemes: they are of interest for investors, clients, and other stakeholders.

What are the next trends in CSR reporting?

We believe that reporting will increasingly focus on sectorial-specific issues. Indeed, now that the general framework is somehow set and recognized by organizations, some more specific information can be added.

For instance, the Telecommunications sector is faced with the problematic of conflict minerals. Electronics companies now report on how they implement due diligence process in their supply chain and declare if they are conflict-free for the following materials: gold, tin, tantalum, tungsten. A dedicated guidance is provided by the CFSI (Conflict Free Sourcing Initiatives).[4]

We also think that more and more SMEs will report their CSR progress – as bigger companies will increase their pressure on suppliers to take the next step and report along the whole supply chain.

DFGE can guide you through your reporting process. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information at info@dfge.de or consult our website.

 

[1]CDP: https://www.cdp.net/en-US/Pages/HomePage.aspx

[2] UNGC: https://www.unglobalcompact.org

[3] GRI: https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/g4/Pages/default.aspx

[4] CFSI: http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/conflict-minerals-reporting-template/http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/conflict-minerals-reporting-template/http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/

image link: https://pixabay.com/en/success-curve-hand-finger-touch-1093889/

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CDP Climate Change – Änderungen im Fragebogen im Jahr 2016 und neue Bewertungsmethode


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Das CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) hat seinen CDP Climate Change Fragebogen für 2016 verändert.

Was ist CDP?

Über CDP veröffentlichen etwa 6000 Organisationen ihre Treibhausgas-Emissionen und andere umweltbezogene Leistungskennzahlen; dazu werden sie von ihren Anteilseignern oder ihren Kunden aufgefordert. Die Erwartung ist, dass Unternehmen dadurch besser in der Lage sind, dem Klimawandel zu begegnen.

Was sind die wichtigsten ?

  • Änderung der Bewertungsmethode: Die bisherige Aufteilung in disclosure score und performance band wird durch eine einzige Bewertung ersetzt, die die Stufen leadership (A), management (B), awareness (C) und disclosure (D) kennt (identisch zur im letzten Jahr eingeführten Bewertungsmethode für CDP Water). Die im Fragebogen gegebenen Antworten tragen zur Gesamtbewertung bei; mindestens 75% der Punkte müssen in einer Bewertungsstufe erreicht werden, um die nächsthöhere Stufe zu erreichen.
  • Angleichung der Scope-2-Emissionsberechnung ans Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Unternehmen müssen nun erklären, ob die angegebenen Werte marktbasiert oder ortsbasiert berechnet wurden. Ortsbasiert heißt, dass die Berechnung auf Emissionsfaktoren des jeweiligen geographischen Gebiets basiert. Marktbasierte Zahlen beziehen sich auf Emissionsfaktoren des Stromlieferanten oder des individuell bezogenen Strom-Produkts. Um die Zahlen vergleichbar zu machen, müssen Unternehmen eine der Optionen wählen und die Angaben aus dem Vorjahr gegebenenfalls entsprechend umrechnen.
  • Erneuerbare Energien: Unternehmen haben jetzt die Möglichkeit, ihre Produktion und ihren Verbrauch an erneuerbaren Energien einzubeziehen, und können auch über ihre Ziele in diesem Bereich berichten.
  • Wissenschaftsbasierte Ziele (Science-based targets): Unternehmen müssen jetzt angeben, ob ihr Reduktionsziel wissenschaftsbasiert ist, d.h. ob es kompatibel mit dem Ziel ist, die Klimaerwärmung auf 2°C zu begrenzen.
  • Management-Gebühr: Unternehmen aus Nordamerika und Westeuropa, die am CDP Investor Programm teilnehmen, müssen nun eine Gebühr zahlen, um zur Finanzierung von CDP beizutragen. Die Basisgebühr beträgt 2.475€ (mit der Zusatzoption, einen höheren Beitrag zu leisten); es ist aber auch möglich, eine niedrigere, „subventionierte“ Gebühr zu wählen. Erstmalige Teilnehmer oder Firmen, die aufgefordert wurden, am Supply Chain-Programm teilzunehmen, müssen keine Gebühr zahlen.

Mehr Informationen (englisch):

Changes & Rationale Document: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-Climate-Change-changes-document-2016.pdf

CDP 2016 Climate Change scoring methodology Introduction:  https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-climate-change-scoring-methodology-2016.pdf

Scoring introduction 2016: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/Scoring-Introduction-2016.pdf

Accounting of scope 2 emissions: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-technical-note-Accounting-of-Scope-2-Emissions-2016.pdf

Als offizieller CDP-Partner kann die DFGE Ihnen detailliertere Informationen über die Änderungen geben bzw. Ihrem Unternehmen helfen, sich daran anzupassen. Mit einer eingehenden Prüfung Ihrer CDP-Antworten (CDP Response Review) können Sie sichergehen, alle Erfordernisse des neuen Fragebogens und der neuen Bewertungsmethode zu erfüllen. Kontaktieren Sie uns unter info@dfge.de oder +49.8192.99733-20.

 

 

CDP Climate Change – revised questionnaire for 2016 and new scoring methodology


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The CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) has updated its methodology for the year 2016 regarding the CDP Climate Change questionnaire.

What is CDP?

Through CDP, around 6,000 organizations disclose their greenhouse gases emissions and other environmental KPIs, on the request of the shareholders or their clients. Through measurement, organizations are expected to better manage climate change mitigation.

What are the main changes?

  • Change in Climate Change scoring methodology. There will no longer be a disclosure score and a performance band, but one score, which will be located on a four-band scale: leadership (A), management (B), awareness (C), disclosure (D), like already introduced for the CDP water program in 2015. Answers to the CDP questions may be eligible to points in the four scoring categories disclosure, awareness, management, leadership. At least 75% of points must be scored on a certain scoring level in order to advance to the next higher lever.
  • Alignment with GHG protocol for Scope 2 emissions. Organizations now need to explain if the figures are market-based or location-based. Location-based means that the calculation is based on a figure reflecting the geographical electrical grid. For market-based, this figure reflects the emissions of the product, or the supplier. As figures need to be comparable, organizations need to select one of the option and convert the figures from the 2015 report or figures for the new 2016 report accordingly
  • Renewable energy. Organizations have now the possibility to report their renewable energy production and consumption, as well as any renewable energy targets.
  • Science-based targets. Company now need to specify whether their reduction target is science-based, meaning in alignment with climate science recommendations and scenarios, to keep global warming below 2°C.
  • Management fee: Companies from North America and Western Europe responding in the CDP Investor Program will be charged a management fee to contribute to the funding of the CDP project. The basic fee is set at 2.475 EUR, with the option to make a higher contribution, or to choose a subsidized, lower fee. First-time responders, as well as companies responding to their customers via the Supply Chain Program do not need to pay a fee.

For more information, please consult:

Changes & Rationale Document: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-Climate-Change-changes-document-2016.pdf

CDP 2016 Climate Change scoring methodology Introduction:  https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-climate-change-scoring-methodology-2016.pdf

Scoring introduction 2016: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/Scoring-Introduction-2016.pdf

Accounting of scope 2 emissions: https://www.cdp.net/Documents/Guidance/2016/CDP-technical-note-Accounting-of-Scope-2-Emissions-2016.pdf

As a CDP official partner, the DFGE is happy to provide more details on these changes and help your organization adapt to them. With our in-depth CDP Response Review, you can make sure you cover all requirements from the new questionnaire and scoring methodology. Please contact us at info@dfge.de or +49.8192.99733-20

 

 

Freely chosen employment: a focus of EICC Code of Conduct latest version


Background story: The majority of our blog posts deals with CSR topics; we write about the latest developments in this field and try to relate it to a company’s daily business. Our background stories have a different perspective: Here, we explain trends, scientific background and societal implications of corporate sustainability – sometimes with a personal touch.

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The EICC Code of Conduct – 5.1 version was released in January 2016 to include stringent requirements on the fight against forced and bonded labor.

A sectorial initiative to tackle CSR issues

The EICC is a nonprofit coalition of electronics companies comprised of more than 100 electronics companies with combined annual revenue of over $3 trillion, directly employing more than 5.5 million people. The companies are committed to supporting the rights and wellbeing of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global electronics supply chain.[1]

To do so, a Code of Conduct was set up, and the coalition provides training and assessment tools regarding environmental, social and ethical responsibilities.

The Code of Conduct was launched in 2004, and has been adapted and changed to match the evolution of these themes. The version 5.1 has been released on the 1st of January 2016 and will come into force from the 1st of April 2016.

Change in freely chosen employment section

The only change from version 5.0 released in November 2014 to the version 5.1 of January 2016 focuses on freely chosen employment (section A,1).

The version 5.0 states that “workers shall not be required to pay employers or agents recruitment fees or other aggregate fees in excess of one month’s salary. All fees charged to workers must be disclosed and fees in excess of one month’s salary must be returned to the worker.”, whereas the 2016 version reads that “workers shall not be required to pay employers’ or agents’ recruitment fees or other related fees for their employment. If any such fees are found to have been paid by workers, such fees shall be repaid to the worker.”

This means that the requirements are strengthening. Before, there was a limit which is no longer tolerated. Our understanding is that a common practice of forced labor is indeed that employees have to pay a fee to be employed, either to the employer or to a recruiting agent. However, they usually cannot afford it right away, so they remain in debt to the employer or recruiting agent, so they have to keep working in the company at least to be able to pay this employment fee.

This more stringent requirement can be explained in a larger context where forced labor is still existing. For instance, the NGO Verité’s two-year study of labor conditions in electronics manufacturing in Malaysia found that “one in three foreign workers surveyed in Malaysian electronics was in a condition of forced labor.”[2]

Tackling forced labor issues

There are different ways to tackle this existing issue:

  • Risk-mapping to identify where cases are most likely to happen
  • Action plans accordingly
  • Actions can feature:
    • Specific HR procedures preventing unreasonable restrictions on entering or existing the facilities, forbidding employment fees, prohibiting the confiscation of immigrant documents
    • Training of HR population in this sense
    • Whistle blowing system to detect and treat such cases
    • Audits to check the status of such actions

For more information, please contact us at info@dfge.de or read the EICC Code of conduct: http://www.eiccoalition.org/media/docs/EICCCodeofConduct5_1_English.pdf

[1] http://www.eiccoalition.org/about/

[2] http://www.verite.org/research/electronicsmalaysia

image source: https://pixabay.com/en/document-agreement-documents-sign-428334/

Blasenbildung: Warum CO2-Emissionen zum Risiko werden


Hintergrundbeitrag: Die Mehrheit unserer Beiträge behandelt das Thema CSR; wir berichten über aktuelle Entwicklungen und versuchen, Auswirkungen auf die tägliche Praxis im Unternehmen darzustellen. Unsere Hintergrundbeiträge haben einen etwas anderen Blickwinkel: Hier werden Trends, wissenschaftlicher Hintergrund und gesellschaftliche Auswirkungen unternehmerischer Nachhaltigkeit erklärt – manchmal mit einem persönlichen Touch.

Carbon bubbleHaben Sie schon von der Kohlenstoffblase gehört? Falls nicht, hier die gute Nachricht: Bisher existiert sie nur in der Theorie. Falls sie allerdings irgendwann entsteht, und das ist der Knackpunkt, wird sie groß werden, sehr groß. So groß, dass ihr Platzen dramatische und unabsehbare Auswirkungen haben könnte.

Doch der Reihe nach: Mit dem Begriff „Kohlenstoffblase“ wird eine hypothetische ökonomische Blase am Finanzmarkt bezeichnet. Eine solche Blase entsteht, wenn erheblich mehr Geld in einem Markt vorhanden ist, als dass es durch die zukünftig zu erwartenden Gewinne in diesem Markt zu rechtfertigen wäre. Oder einfacherer gesagt: in einer Blase erhoffen sich Anleger sehr viel von der Entwicklung eines Marktes, bis irgendwann herauskommt, dass die Geld-Anlagen sehr viel weniger wert sind, und dass sich alle verspekuliert haben; die Blase platzt.

Im Falle der Kohlenstoffblase geht es um den Markt der großen globalen Öl- und Kohlekonzerne. Momentan (und schon seit Jahren) machen diese sehr viel Gewinne, denn der Welt-Bedarf nach Kohle und Öl steigt unaufhörlich. Die weltweiten Reserven an Kohle, Öl und Gas entsprachen im Jahr 2011 unfassbaren 2,8 Milliarden Tonnen CO2[1], und jedes Jahr werden neue Lagerstätten entdeckt. Die Förderunternehmen werden von Anlegern als sehr wertvoll beurteilt, denn die Aussichten sind auf den ersten Blick ja glänzend.

Wäre da nur nicht der Klimawandel. Seit der Klimakonferenz in Kopenhagen 2009 strebt die internationale Staatengemeinschaft eine Begrenzung der Erderwärmung auf 2°C an, verglichen mit dem Niveau vor der Industrialisierung. 1°C Erwärmung haben wir nun schon erreicht[2], was den zukünftigen Spielraum weiter begrenzt. Um unter der Zwei-Grad-Grenze zu bleiben, müssten 80% der weltweiten Reserven an Kohle, Gas und Öl im Boden bleiben, was für die großen Unternehmen der fossilen Energiewirtschaft eine Katastrophe wäre. Diese Konzerne würden schlagartig an Wert verlieren, und die Investoren müssten erhebliche Summen abschreiben; die Folgen für die Branche und darüber hinaus wären schwer absehbar.

Was hat das alles mit uns zu tun? Nun, auf den zweiten Blick eine ganze Menge:

Zum einen führt die Kohlenstoffblase vor Augen, wie weit reichend die gesetzlichen Regelungen sein werden, die in den nächsten Jahren zu erwarten sind. Der Klimagipfel in Paris hat gezeigt, dass es der Staatengemeinschaft ernst ist mit der Begrenzung der Emissionen, vermutlich sogar ernst genug, um sich mit den großen Kohle- und Ölförderern anzulegen. Und dazu gehören immerhin sieben der zehn größten Unternehmen der Welt[3].

Zum zweiten zeigt uns die durch die drohende Kohlenstoffblase entstandene Divestment-Bewegung, dass der Ausstoß von Emissionen zunehmend zur moralischen Frage wird; die von vielen lokalen Gruppen getragene Bewegung agiert unter dem Grundsatz „It’s wrong to profit from wrecking the planet“ und zwingt öffentliche und private Institutionen durch Druck der Öffentlichkeit, aus emissionsintensiven Konzernen zu de-investieren, und das Geld in emissionsärmere Investments umzuleiten. Und das bisher augenscheinlich recht erfolgreich.

Es gibt also für Firmen seit neustem ein paar gute Gründe mehr, die unternehmensbezogenen Emissionen in den Griff zu kriegen;  neben der vorausschauenden Anpassung an kommende gesetzliche Normen ist auch ein drohender Reputationsverlust in der öffentlichen Meinung ein Risiko.

Die DFGE kann Sie bei der Berechnung Ihres unternehmensweiten Carbon Footprints und bei der Identifikation von Reduktionspotenzialen unterstützen  – kontaktieren Sie uns unter info@dfge.de oder unter +49.8192.99733-20 für mehr Informationen!

Mehr Infos rund um das CO2-Management für Unternehmen finden Sie unter http://www.dfge.de/carbon-footprint-berechnung/.

SDGs: a topic of interest for companies


 

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On the 17th of February, DFGE co-animated a webinar on Sustainable Development Goals with the World Environment Center. For those who missed it, we summarize the main conclusions of the webinar in this article.

The webinar featured sustainability experts.

Elisa Tonda (Head of Business and Industry Unit, UNEP), Lorraine Francourt (Director, EH&S & Sustainability, EMEA & AP, The Dow Chemical Company), Wolfgang Berger (VP Business Development, DFGE- Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy) and Terry F. Yosie (President and CEO, World Environment Center) presented current trends on how companies are using the Sustainable Development Goals and on how companies can address them.

Main highlights from the webinar

(1) The SDGs are becoming important because they provide an internationally approved framework to address global challenges. Business has a vital interest in a world free from human suffering and environmental degradation and finds it essential that coordinated and measurable action takes place.

(2) Companies find value in using the SDG’s, e.g. because they help identify and meet societal expectations, especially in developing markets where the major growth opportunities lie.

(3) Companies such as Dow Chemical are already applying the SDGs. They have gone through intense stakeholder consultations (both internally and externally) and have now embedded their sustainability goal-setting-process into a structure that allows for measuring and reporting on the SDGs. Dow sets goals for each of the SDG’s but not for each indicator. Even less ambitious companies that address just a few goals would be coherent with the United Nation’s objective: every company should find its own way of contributing to the SDGs.

(4) Companies can align the SDGs with their business strategies and existing reporting frameworks such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Global Compact, and CDP responses. While the SDGs may have similar content to the aforementioned, these pre-existing initiatives and frameworks are generally more focused in certain areas. The SDGs are, instead, a framework to report on a company’s contribution to solve global challenges and enable a strategic perspective for companies that actively want to identify business opportunities for the common good.

A worldwide topic

It seems that companies show a deep interest in this topic. Slightly more than 100 sustainability experts attended the webinar. 74% were business representatives, while 26% were from academia, advisory firms, governments, and NGO’s. Geographical distribution was 49% from Europe, 38% from the US, 8% from Latin America and 5% from Northern Africa/Middle East/Pacific.

For more information, please consult: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs or our blog article on how to address SDGs: Companies are key to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. You can also directly consult us at info@dfge.de