Thoughts from our MD – July 2015

Having taken on a 12 month tenure as Managing Director of CDSB in June, unbelievably I find I have been here for a month already. And what a month!

In my first week in the role we launched the new expanded Framework for reporting environmental information and natural capital with a fantastic event hosted by the ICAEW in the splendid surroundings of the Great Hall. There were 200 people in the room and almost the same number watching online representing global business, key institutions, and sustainability experts, and we were thrilled with the engagement and excitement generated. Our guest speaker Anders Borg, previously Sweden’s Finance Minister, captured a key message perfectly when he said “The work done by CDSB is extremely important. This is an area where corporate social responsibility and business logic, economic logic, and logic for society, is actually coming together.”  

10 days later on the 18th of June Pope Francis published his encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si' This was a momentous event for a variety of reasons. Public recognition by the Catholic Church that the science behind climate change is real and has a direct impact on poverty throughout the world is a powerful message in itself. Francis has reinvigorated the faithful with his style of ministry, and there are 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, from individuals to highly influential institutions, taking this message very seriously. The Vatican is a member of the UN, and the encyclical will be playing an important role at COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December this year, and then as the American presidential election heats up in the USA in 2016. 

CDSB is a relatively small NGO in the natural capital world, but I've rapidly learnt how it punches well above its weight, with first class technical expertise and a laser-like focus on transforming sustainability information into measurable, reportable metrics which are essential for understanding risk and need to be part of mainstream reporting. The framework provides the guidance on how to capture the non-financial information which demonstrates both value creation and understanding of risk; it can be used by organisations from all sectors, private and public. With institutions such as NASA using the Framework methodology extensively in its Climate Adaptation Plan to manage environmental information and effectively report on it we can be confident that it works. 

My 12 months here will revolve around COP21 in Paris in December - the perfect half way point of my year in the job. Our challenge is to promote the CDSB Framework and see its adoption by an ever increasing number of organisations, with environmental information and natural capital integrated fully into mainstream reports. Businesses, institutions, trade associations, academic bodies, policy makers, and the world's press and media - all will be watching COP21 closely, and we intend to get our message through loud and clear. As well as our Framework, CDSB's campaign for reporting climate change information as a matter of  fiduciary duty is gathering pace for COP21 - but you'll have to wait for my next blog to catch up on that initiative.

JS