GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards: Change shall come

Seemingly right on the heels of GRI G4 Guidelines is the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. Launched last 19 October 2016, its aim is to set a common language among companies for non-financial information disclosure and provide a means for even greater transparency on the economic, environmental and social impacts companies make.

The GRI Standards: an even better strategic reporting tool

While reception to the GRI G4 Guidelines have been positive and it remains the most widely used framework for sustainability reporting, the G4  guidelines are often subject to misinterpretation and reporting loopholes. We have seen sustainability reports serve as a platform to showcase revenue performance. Sometimes, imbalanced reporting occurs when positive impacts disproportionately outweigh negative effects.

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Increase in report numbers of GRI G4 Reports in the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database

 

 

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NIST Cybersecurity Framework: Keeping Your Business Safe in an Unsafe IT Ecosystem

The Rising Strategic Risk of Cyberattacks

As the world continues to embrace technology and its many advantages, business also has begun to rely more and more on technology, storing large amounts of sensitive data electronically. The ease at which computers can store and access information is a major reason for the shift toward massive electronic storage and with the efficiencies that computers bring to the market, a new area of risk has been inadvertently created.

Evidently, cyber criminals today are increasingly leveraging malware, bots and other forms of sophisticated threats to attack organizations for various reasons – financial gain, business disruption or political agendas. In many cases, they often target multiple sites and organizations to increase the likelihood of an attack’s initial success and viral spread. With new variants of malware being generated on a daily basis, many companies struggle to fight these threats separately and the majority of attacks are often left undetected or unreported.

Cybercriminals are also no longer isolated amateurs. They belong to well-structured organizations with money, motivation and goals, often employing highly skilled hackers that execute targeted attacks. Such organizations can deploy considerable threat intelligence, time and resources in order to execute attacks that can cost cybercrime victims significant amounts of money. Unfortunately, this trend is only growing more complex as businesses experience a surge in internet use, mobile computing and the cloud, creating more channels of communication and vulnerable entry points into the network.

Cybersecurity – A Global Business Concern 

More and more business value and personal information worldwide are rapidly migrating into digital form on open and globally interconnected technology platforms. As that happens, the risks from cyberattacks become more and more distressing.

Based on 2014 McKinsey and World Economic Forum Research, companies are continuously struggling with their capabilities in cyber risk management and believe that they are losing ground to attackers as visible breaches incessantly occurs in growing scale and severity.

Their findings show that 70% of executives from financial institutions believe that cybersecurity is a strategic risk to companies and considered internal threats (their employees) as big risk as external attacks.  Similarly, product companies such as high-tech firms see the leaking of proprietary knowledge about production process as more damaging than leaks of product specifications given the pervasiveness of “teardown” techniques and the legal protections afforded to product designs. Service companies on the other hand, are more concerned about the loss and release of identifiable information on customers and about service disruptions.

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ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement: Purchasing Greener and More Sustainable Products from Greener and More Sustainable Companies

Philippine Procurement Today

The overall consumer expenditure in the Philippines increased to ₱ 1,342,297 Million in the fourth quarter of 2015 from ₱ 1,321,980 Million in the third quarter of 2015. Shifting that spending towards more sustainable goods and services can help drive markets in the direction of innovation and sustainability, thereby enabling transition to a green economy.

Traditional procurement focuses upon value-for-money considerations. Nowadays, procurement go beyond the traditional purchasing criteria of price, performance and quality, taking account also of the environmental and social impacts of your purchasing choices, reducing adverse impacts upon health, social conditions and the environment, thereby saving valuable costs for organizations and the community at large.

Society’s Receptiveness on Sustainable Procurement

Thinking about our purchasing decisions and making informed choices can significantly reduce our environmental and social impacts. Our purchasing power can be used to positively influence supply chains, promoting the productive use of resources and materials and the engagement of ethical and socially responsible suppliers.

price

According to 2014 Nielsen Report, 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Asian-Pacific region was the most willing to pay more for products with social-good benefits, surpassing the global average at 64%.

These sustainability-minded consumers based their choice of goods and services on:

considerations

Benefits of Responsible Purchasing

Consumers are not the only ones interested in purchasing greener, healthier products. Many organizations from large to small enterprise are looking to make more sustainable choices.

For many of these organizations, responsible purchasing is more than “doing the right thing.” Green purchasing priorities are frequently connected with specific business objectives like:

  • Enhanced Brand Image:An organization that has gone green is seen as a good corporate citizen. This increases its image in the eyes of the public.
  • Customer Satisfaction:An organization that goes green in response to customer concerns increases its levels of customer satisfaction, a key point in customer retention.
  • Reduced Risk:Not only is any company that does not go green risking a run in with the law by failing to comply with green regulations but it is also maintaining more liability than it needs to. Hazardous chemicals are just accidents, and lawsuits, waiting to happen. With green purchasing, you can offset financial and environmental risk, rather than just inheriting it from your suppliers.
  • Cost Reduction:Going green doesn’t cost more. Most of the time it actually saves money, especially when the new products use less energy, generate less waste, and last longer. Plus, sometimes green products work better than their lethal counterparts. Going green can reduce the following costs, among others:
    • hazardous material management costs
    • operational costs
    • repair and replacement costs
    • disposal costs
    • health & safety costs (which often come in the form of liability insurance and expensive settlements)
  • Increased Shareholder Value:A better brand with happy customers who keep coming back and drive up sales while costs keep falling results in significant ROI, interest more shareholders to invest in your company.

ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement: Purchasing from Greener and More Sustainable Companies

A purchasing entity, regardless of its location in the world, can now no longer exempt itself from accountability for what occurs at its suppliers. Now, given multiple levels of subcontractors and cross-border procurement, a globally accepted standard will be needed to regulate the best practices of responsible purchasing.

ISO 20400, a standard for Sustainable Procurement provides guidelines on purchasing greener, healthier and more sustainable products from greener and more sustainable companies. Its development started in 2013 with a proposal of France and Brazil. At the moment 33 countries are participating and 7 liaison organizations while 13 countries are observing.

The ISO 20400 Standard is based on several principles, many of which share the intent of SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing and this includes:

Understanding – Understanding the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.

Commitment – Taking responsibility for the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing by committing to an action plan.

Results – Delivering on its commitment to improve the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.

Innovation – Actively promoting internal and external innovation that advances a positive future.

Transparency – Soliciting and disclosing information that supports a marketplace of innovation..

The four main parts of the guidance standard consists of:

sus

Clause 4: Fundamentals

This clause is primarily written for use by top management of an organization to help define the strategy and policies in connection with sustainable procurement. As a result it considers what sustainable procurement is, what the main organizational sustainability issues and drivers are, and how sustainability should be integrated into procurement policies and strategies.

Clause 5: Integrating Sustainability into the Organization’s Procurement Policy and Strategy (Policy and Strategy)

This clause provides guidance about how sustainability considerations should be integrated at a strategic level within the procurement function of an organization to ensure that the intention, direction and key sustainability priorities of the organization are documented and understood by all parties involved in sustainable procurement. This clause is applicable to all but help top management define sustainable procurement policy and strategy.

Clause 6: Organizing the Procurement Function towards Sustainability (Enablers)

Clause 6 is primarily written for use by procurement management and describes the conditions that need to be created and management techniques that should be employed to enable sustainable procurement to be successfully implemented and continually improved. These conditions are key to successfully integrating sustainability considerations into the procurement process described in clause 6. Five enablers are discussed: priority setting, enabling people, governing procurement, engaging stakeholders and measuring performance.

Clause 7. Integrating Sustainability into the Procurement Process (Procurement Process)

This clause addresses the procurement process and is intended for individuals who are responsible for the actual procurement within their organization. This clause may also be of interest to those in associated functions.

When adopting sustainable procurement, it should be integrated into existing procurement process steps like: planning, specifications, supplier selection, contract management and contract review and lessons learnt.

Looking Ahead

Buying greener, healthier, more sustainable products is one way we can all improve our own lives while building a better world. To strengthen this initiative, ISO 20400 was created and launched for a consultation to a wider audience than the experts from the mirror committees of the involved countries. The vote terminates on 2nd of December, 2016 and the final version of the standard is expected to be released on the early 2017. 

References

http://www.triplepundit.com/special/setting-the-standard/sustainable-purchasing-101-tools-buying-greener-products/

https://www.ungm.org/Public/KnowledgeCentre/SustainableProcurement

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/01/14/how-to-make-balanced-sustainable-purchasing-decisions

http://www.esourcingforum.com/archives/2011/11/29/five-benefits-of-green-procurement/

https://www.jisc.go.jp/international/PC277/E_ISO_DIS_20400.pdf

Data Center Fun Facts

There’s no question that big data plays a huge role in the lives of millions of people as well as countless businesses.

As each year passes, data gets bigger and more storage facilities are built to handle the influx of information and keep it accessible and safe.

Just how big has big data become? How big do data centers have to be to handle that much data? Not surprisingly, with more of the world turning to electronic forms of storage and and ever-increasing amount of data, data centers are becoming a lot more efficient at handling information and compressing it.

AIS-Infographic-Data-Center-Fun-Facts

50 Sensor Applications for a Smarter World

50 Sensor Applications for a Smarter World

Smart Cities

  • 01 Smart Parking

    Monitoring of parking spaces availability in the city.

  • 02 Structural health

    Monitoring of vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges and historical monuments.

  • 03 Noise Urban Maps

    Sound monitoring in bar areas and centric zones in real time.

  • 04 Smartphone Detection

    Detect iPhone and Android devices and in general any device which works with WiFi or Bluetooth interfaces.

  • 05 Eletromagnetic Field Levels

    Measurement of the energy radiated by cell stations and and WiFi routers.

  • 06 Traffic Congestion

    Monitoring of vehicles and pedestrian levels to optimize driving and walking routes.

  • 07 Smart Lighting

    Intelligent and weather adaptive lighting in street lights.

  • 08 Waste Management

    Detection of rubbish levels in containers to optimize the trash collection routes.

  • 09 Smart Roads

    Intelligent Highways with warning messages and diversions according to climate conditions and unexpected events like accidents or traffic jams.

See Related Articles

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Smart Environment

  • 10 Forest Fire Detection

    Monitoring of combustion gases and preemptive fire conditions to define alert zones.

  • 11 Air Pollution

    Control of CO2 emissions of factories, pollution emitted by cars and toxic gases generated in farms.

  • 12 Snow Level Monitoring

    Snow level measurement to know in real time the quality of ski tracks and allow security corps avalanche prevention.

  • 13 Landslide and Avalanche Prevention

    Monitoring of soil moisture, vibrations and earth density to detect dangerous patterns in land conditions.

  • 14 Earthquake Early Detection

    Distributed control in specific places of tremors.

See Related Articles

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Smart Water

  • 15 Potable water monitoring

    Monitor the quality of tap water in cities.

  • 16 Chemical leakage detection in rivers

    Detect leakages and wastes of factories in rivers.

  • 17 Swimming pool remote measurement

    Control remotely the swimming pool conditions.

  • 18 Pollution levels in the sea

    Control realtime leakages and wastes in the sea.

  • 19 Water Leakages

    Detection of liquid presence outside tanks and pressure variations along pipes.

  • 20 River Floods

    Monitoring of water level variations in rivers, dams and reservoirs.

See Related Articles

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Smart Metering

  • 21 Smart Grid

    Energy consumption monitoring and management.

  • 22 Tank level

    Monitoring of water, oil and gas levels in storage tanks and cisterns.

  • 23 Photovoltaic Installations

    Monitoring and optimization of performance in solar energy plants.

  • 24 Water Flow

    Measurement of water pressure in water transportation systems.

  • 25 Silos Stock Calculation

    Measurement of emptiness level and weight of the goods.

See Related Articles

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Security & Emergencies
  • 26 Perimeter Access Control

    Access control to restricted areas and detection of people in non-authorized areas.

  • 27 Liquid Presence

    Liquid detection in data centers, warehouses and sensitive building grounds to prevent break downs and corrosion.

  • 28 Radiation Levels

    Distributed measurement of radiation levels in nuclear power stations surroundings to generate leakage alerts.

  • 29 Explosive and Hazardous Gases

    Detection of gas levels and leakages in industrial environments, surroundings of chemical factories and inside mines.

See Related Articles

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Retail

  • 30 Supply Chain Control

    Monitoring of storage conditions along the supply chain and product tracking for traceability purposes.

  • 31 NFC Payment

    Payment processing based in location or activity duration for public transport, gyms, theme parks, etc.

  • 32 Intelligent Shopping Applications

    Getting advices in the point of sale according to customer habits, preferences, presence of allergic components for them or expiring dates.

  • 33 Smart Product Management

    Control of rotation of products in shelves and warehouses to automate restocking processes.

See Related Articles

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Logistics

  • 34 Quality of Shipment Conditions

    Monitoring of vibrations, strokes, container openings or cold chain maintenance for insurance purposes.

  • 35 Item Location

    Search of individual items in big surfaces like warehouses or harbours.

  • 36 Storage Incompatibility Detection

    Warning emission on containers storing inflammable goods closed to others containing explosive material.

  • 37 Fleet Tracking

    Control of routes followed for delicate goods like medical drugs, jewels or dangerous merchandises.

See Related Articles

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Industrial Control

  • 38 M2M Applications

    Machine auto-diagnosis and assets control.

  • 39 Indoor Air Quality

    Monitoring of toxic gas and oxygen levels inside chemical plants to ensure workers and goods safety.

  • 40 Temperature Monitoring

    Control of temperature inside industrial and medical fridges with sensitive merchandise.

  • 41 Ozone Presence

    Monitoring of ozone levels during the drying meat process in food factories.

  • 42 Indoor Location

    Asset indoor location by using active (ZigBee) and passive tags (RFID/NFC).

  • 43 Vehicle Auto-diagnosis

    Information collection from CanBus to send real time alarms to emergencies or provide advice to drivers.

See Related Articles

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Smart Agriculture

  • 44 Wine Quality Enhancing

    Monitoring soil moisture and trunk diameter in vineyards to control the amount of sugar in grapes and grapevine health.

  • 45 Green Houses

    Control micro-climate conditions to maximize the production of fruits and vegetables and its quality.

  • 46 Golf Courses

    Selective irrigation in dry zones to reduce the water resources required in the green.

  • 47 Meteorological Station Network

    Study of weather conditions in fields to forecast ice formation, rain, drought, snow or wind changes.

  • 48 Compost

    Control of humidity and temperature levels in alfalfa, hay, straw, etc. to prevent fungus and other microbial contaminants.

See Related Articles

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Smart Animal Farming

  • 49 Hydroponics

    Control the exact conditions of plants grown in water to get the highest efficiency crops.

  • 50 Offspring Care

    Control of growing conditions of the offspring in animal farms to ensure its survival and health.

  • 51 Animal Tracking

    Location and identification of animals grazing in open pastures or location in big stables.

  • 52 Toxic Gas Levels

    Study of ventilation and air quality in farms and detection of harmful gases from excrements.

See Related Articles

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Domotic & Home Automation

  • 53 Energy and Water Use

    Energy and water supply consumption monitoring to obtain advice on how to save cost and resources.

  • 54 Remote Control Appliances

    Switching on and off remotely appliances to avoid accidents and save energy.

  • 55 Intrusion Detection Systems

    Detection of windows and doors openings and violations to prevent intruders.

  • 56 Art and Goods Preservation

    Monitoring of conditions inside museums and art warehouses.

See Related Articles

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eHealth

  • 57 Fall Detection

    Assistance for elderly or disabled people living independent.

  • 58 Medical Fridges

    Control of conditions inside freezers storing vaccines, medicines and organic elements.

  • 59 Sportsmen Care

    Vital signs monitoring in high performance centers and fields.

  • 60 Patients Surveillance

    Monitoring of conditions of patients inside hospitals and in old people’s home.

  • 61 Ultraviolet Radiation

    Measurement of UV sun rays to warn people not to be exposed in certain hours.

See Related Articles

 

 

Reference:

http://www.libelium.com/top_50_iot_sensor_applications_ranking/

 

Business continuity planning vital for disaster-prone Manila

Photo credit

A supermarket in Manila after the tropical Storm “Ondoy” ( Ketsana ), 26 September 2009

MANILA, 4 May: UNISDR joined forces with a leading university yesterday to urge Manila’s business community to reduce its disaster risk and to develop business continuity plans which take account of the capital city’s extreme exposure to earthquakes and typhoons. Disasters cost the country a record $615 million last year.

“Adopting business continuity plans is not a question of choice but a double imperative for the Philippines as earthquake and typhoon risks are very high and seriously threaten business assets and profits”, Margareta Wahlström, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction told more than 100 participants at a roundtable on business continuity planning (BCP) held in Ateneo Graduate School of Business in Manila.

“Corporations need to start thinking about what they can do to better protect their businesses against disasters as they are already paying a very high cost for not doing so,” warned Wahlström.

“The private sector plays an instrumental role in mitigating the collective risks we face as people”, said Father Jett Villarin, President of the Ateneo De Manila University, “and BCP should be also taught in business schools to sustain the dialogue and practice among business entities.”

According to a study by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), “The Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study”, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the West Valley Fault will damage 40 percent of the total number of residential buildings within Metropolitan Manila, which has 11.8 million inhabitants, and will cause approximately 34,000 deaths and 114,000 injuries. Moreover, fire spreading as a secondary effect of the earthquake will cause an additional 18,000 deaths.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has noted that such an event happening is inevitable.

In 2011, disaster losses rose to 26 billion pesos (US$615 Million) in the Philippines exceeding the previous record of 14.5 Billion pesos in 2006.

Manila which accounts for more than 33 per cent of the GDP in the Philippines has been hit by 30 earthquakes since 1900. The Valley Fault System that runs north to south along the west and east edges of the Marikina Valley is thought to pose the greatest seismic threat to Metro Manila due to its close proximity.

Manila and the Philippines also suffer from more than 30 typhoons per year. Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng in 2009 have already caused substantial damages and losses, equivalent to about 2.7 percent of GDP. Climate change experts predict that typhoons, storms and flash floods will be even more frequent and severe in the future.

“In addition to these first hand risks, the Philippines is also exposed to other threats due to the interconnectedness of today’s disasters. A disaster happening in Japan or somewhere else in Asia can have also great repercussions in the Philippines affecting different manufacturing activities and employment sectors,” noted Wahlström.

The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, for example, resulted in a 10-25 percent decrease in the automobile production with a domino effect of a 10-20 percent reduction in the manufacturing of electrical components in the Philippines.

“Yet despite the magnitude of potential costs and loss of incomes, reducing disaster risk continues to be perceived as a lesser priority than fiscal stability, unemployment or inflation when it should be a priority as disasters continue to increase and inflict huge economic losses to businesses,” said the UN head for Disaster Risk reduction.

Senator Loren Legarda who is a UNISDR Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Champion took the opportunity of the visit by Wahlström to convene a high-level meeting of business leaders to convince them that robust business continuity planning was part of their corporate social responsibility. Those business leaders included Rhicke Jennings, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Henry Limbonliong, Vice-President of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and M. Hans Sy of SM Prime Holdings.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Japanese government on the adoption of business continuity planning (BCP) by member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), just after the APEC meeting last November in Honolulu, only nine out of the 40 Philippines companies which responded to the survey had a BCP in place while three others were in the process of developing one.

How to Influence Through Quality Management Skills

by Kevin Johnston, Demand Media

As a small-business owner, you can benefit from learning how quality management skills can influence managers, middle managers and your entire workforce to work toward improvements in the way you run your company. As you demonstrate top-notch skills, you gain influence based on your wisdom, judgment and knowledge. This influence can have a major impact on morale and productivity.

People Skills

Your ability to empathize with others lays the foundation for all of your other management skills. If you consistently demonstrate that you listen to people and strive to understand their concerns, you gain influence through the respect you earn. While you have the right to exercise power due to your position as the owner of the business, you gain wider influence by developing positive relationships with your employees.

Technical Skills

If you understand both the advanced and basic tasks of your business, you establish yourself as a person of influence in the company. Employees will know that you understand their job skills and the problems they must overcome, along with the determination it takes to do a quality job day in and day out.

Problem-Solving Abilities

When you solve problems, you gain influence. Your successful solutions demonstrate that you have earned your position as business owner through your management acumen. You establish yourself as a go-to person for your managers and their staff when problems arise. Your influence will spread as your decisions are implemented and employees see positive results.

High Expectations

Managers who structure high expectations into team and company goals can influence employees to reach for their best. Distinct, well-defined expectations help employees engage in a process that leads to stronger outcomes than those achieved under old authoritarian models built on threats and rewards. This allows you to lead employees in a positive direction and gain influence by involving them in creating ways to meet high expectations.

Rethinking Management Roles

To gain influence, learn to look at your role not as a boss but as a mentor. Employees will respond when they feel they are part of the process of creating quality in your business. The mentor approach allows you to persuade rather than cajole and lead rather than push.

Mediation

Your ability to mediate disagreements among your staff can garner you a reputation as a wise leader. You must master the management skill of accepting two opposing positions as legitimate and seeing the positives in each opponent’s viewpoint. Finding a middle ground where those in a disagreement can agree on a compromise will expand your influence and improve your reputation.

Operational Skills

Maintain your influence by showing employees you keep the big picture in mind when addressing problems in a single area. You can show an ability to understand how myriad tasks fit together to make the whole business work. Employees will realize that their focus is part of the big picture but that you have to oversee the entire operation. This will solidify your influence at your business.

Conveying Vision

Perhaps the most influential management skill you can practice is the ability to get others excited about your vision. When you convince others that what you have imagined is possible, they will follow you and work hard to bring your vision to fruition.

About the Author

Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as “The New York Daily News,” “Business Age” and “Nation’s Business.” He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor’s and Bank of America.