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The former COO of Timberland, Ken Pucker, argues that organisations are confusing output with impact.
Corporate social reporting is seriously flawed. It raises the issue whether sustainability measurement and reporting sets the tone for wrong promises because the impact of the measurement and reporting movement has been oversold.
The real problem is when politicians, CEOs, business leaders and policy makers are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done.
Progressive thinkers consider that a more sustainable form of capitalism would arise if companies regularly measured and reported on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
Even though such reporting has become widespread environmental damage and social inequality are still growing.
Measurement is often nonstandard, incomplete, imprecise and misleading, in many cases it is just greenwashing.
The limitations of sustainability reporting have become apparent.
According to Greta Thunberg, "the real danger is when politicians and CEO's are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is done."
The impact of sustainability reporting has been oversold by exaggerating gains, and distracting from the very real need for changes in mindsets, regulation, and corporate behaviour.
Reporting is not a proxy for sustainability progress. Measurement is often nonstandard, incomplete, imprecise, and misleading.
If there’s a hope of preserving key global resources, businesses will need to become far more efficient managers of resources, with stronger governance structures.
Committing to net-zero trajectories is a step forward.
If businesses are willing to bend the global emissions curve downward and address growing environmental and social challenges effectively, a more aggressive approach is required.
The obsession with shareholder primacy has served executives and investors well during this pandemic, but it has left younger generations with a staggering bill.
Going forward, stability and prosperity require that business leaders advocate for structural reforms that enable them to focus beyond the next quarter’s numbers to promote change and sustainability to pass on a better world than the one the previous generations inherited.
It's time for more decisive actions to foster sustainability in the long run.
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