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  • Organisations as diverse as the US Government, the New York Mass Transit Authority and the World Bank have started publishing their previously-closed data for the world – and more particularly, their stakeholders – to see and use. This move to open data has many benefits, from fostering stakeholder participation in solving complex problems, to enabling third parties to dream up completely new services (such as mobile applications that tell you the fastest way to get around your city).

    Companies, however, have been slower to embrace the move to open data, and this was the subject of a recent webinar for our Engaging Stakeholders network members.

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  • A question and answer with Wood Turner and Mike Bellamente of Climate Counts, one of the ratings profiled in SustainAbility’s Rate the Raters research series.

    1) Looking at the Phase Four paper of Rate the Raters, what resonates most with you?

    Now that corporate sustainability ratings have been around awhile, SustainAbility’s Rate the Raters project helps us gauge what the future holds. The phase four paper establishes that rating standards will require greater differentiation moving forward, and that raters will need to distance themselves from the overly saturated data compilation side of the business in order to remain competitive. We at Climate Counts certainly believe this to be true; indeed, if our goal is to point the business community in the direction of climate change awareness and leadership, it should be done with clarity and efficiency, not complexity and duplication.

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  • Moving Towards Investor-Friendly Ratings

    22 Jul 2011 – Cécile Churet

    As Rate the Raters pointed out, we are indeed witnessing a proliferation of “sustainability-related“ ratings, but these come in many different sizes and flavours, making comparison difficult. While some are directed towards consumers, others are akin to corporate reputation barometers, others are issue-specific, and still others are largely driven by ethical considerations. Only a handful seek to provide investors with a comprehensive view on a company’s performance and its ability to address long-term challenges compared to its peers, and can therefore be considered truly “mainstream” from an investor’s perspective.

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  • Rate the Raters Phase Four: Where do we go from here?

    21 Jul 2011 – Suzanne Fallender

    I’ve spent most of my career working on some aspect of company evaluations or ratings, and all I can say is that if there was an easy single answer to “which is the best company?”, I could be retired on a lovely beach somewhere.

    In my own view, the current discussion of the usefulness and quality of sustainability ratings and rankings is more hopeful than discouraging. If I look back over the past decade, many ratings and rankings have greatly improved their quality and methodology. Companies are more transparent and more managers and corporate executives are asking questions about how to drive value through corporate responsibility (driven in part by the attention and competition generated by ratings).

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  • This past Friday, July 15th in Washington, DC, my colleagues Jeff Erikson, Michael Sadowski and I hosted a breakfast roundtable on leadership, trust and value. With guests from Areva, Chevron, the Environmental Defense Fund, Johnson Controls, the International Finance Corporation, Molycorp, the Nature Conservancy and WWF, we explored the intersection and interdependence of these topics as well as their influence on the sustainability agenda.

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  • Sustainability challenges are enormous. Ratings can help drive attention and capital (financial, human, consumer) to those companies best positioned to address these challenges. Rate the Raters is a project that aims to make sense of the expanding universe of corporate sustainability ratings and rankings and to improve the quality and transparency of such ratings.

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  • Get Well Soon

    13 Jul 2011Caren Holzman

    The Lancet recently published a major international study revealing that 347 million adults worldwide suffered from diabetes in 2008 – a number that has doubled since 1980 and exceeds that shown in previous studies. As it was a scientific study, it doesn’t address the staggering economic implications of this number in terms of lost productivity and exorbitant healthcare costs for treatment and support. However, a study also published in June in Value in Health contends that nearly one in five people with diabetes are regularly unable to attend a full day at work due to disruption caused by episodes of dangerously low blood sugar. And one in every ten healthcare dollars in the US is spent on diabetes and its complications.

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  • A compilation of SustainAbility's current and past thinking on the future of energy.

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  • A particular remark has been ringing in my ears for two weeks: “We have an economy where we steal from the future, sell it in the present, and call it GDP.” Those are the words of Paul Hawken, who, in my opinion, has come up with the most accurate definition of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so far.

    When I heard it at TEDxOxbridge, I thought: Bingo! We’re finally weaving growth into the debate, and acknowledging that our obsession with stellar GDP and economic growth is simply an “intergenerational Ponzi scheme” biding its time.

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  • In 2009, author Daniel Goleman wrote a book called Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything. In it, he argued that we were facing an age of radical transparency – the underlying concept being that decision making will soon be public, and has to be transparent from the beginning of the process.

    Yet, we are in an era where there are many companies, private or otherwise, that pride themselves on being secretive. Private, family-run companies like Ferrero, ALDI, and Forever 21, and publicly traded companies like Apple, thrive on secrecy. Yet there other companies that, by virtue of their private ownership, could be more secretive but choose not to be…

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