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Context-Based Sustainability Workshop Announced

Submitted by: Center for Sustainable Organizations

Categories: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Apr 19, 2011 – 07:59 PM EST

 

THETFORD CENTER, Vt., Apr. 19 /CSRwire/ - The non-profit Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) announced today its plans to conduct the world's first intensive workshop on context-based sustainability in August of this year. The workshop, entitled Corporate Sustainability Management: A Context-Based Approach, will be held on August 25 and 26 in Burlington, VT.

Unlike other approaches to sustainability measurement, management and reporting, context-based sustainability, or CBS, interprets an organization's sustainability performance in terms of its impacts on vital resources in the world (i.e., natural, human, social and constructed capitals), relative to thresholds for what such impacts ought to be in order to be sustainable. Thus, sustainability performance, from a context-based perspective, is tightly coupled to social, environmental and economic conditions in the world, and also to stakeholder well-being.

The implications of CBS are significant, since it introduces standards of performance - if only self-selected ones - into the practice of corporate sustainability management. How an organization performs relative to such standards thereby determines whether its impacts and operations are sustainable. The sustainability of water use, for example, is measured against available renewable supplies; solid wastes are compared to landfill capacities; and social and economic impacts are assessed in terms of levels required to ensure stakeholder well-being.

CSO's context-based approach to sustainability is arguably the most advanced - if not only - solution for how to comply with the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) call for the inclusion of sustainability context in corporate reports. Indeed, in its 'G3' Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, GRI addresses context as follows:

  • Performance information should be placed in context.
  • The underlying question of sustainability reporting is how an organization contributes to the improvement or deterioration of economic, environmental, and social conditions at the local, regional, or global level.
  • Simply reporting on trends in individual performance (or the efficiency of the organization) will fail to respond to this underlying question.
  • Reporting organizations should therefore seek ways to express their individual performance in relation to broader environmental and social sustainability.

CSO's Founder and Executive Director, Mark W. McElroy, Ph.D., had this to say about today's announcement: "This is the world's first comprehensive workshop on how to perform context-based sustainability management - from theory, to practice, to metrics. For companies that are serious about managing their sustainability performance, this program is indispensable!"

About the Center for Sustainable Organizations

The Center for Sustainable Organizations is a non-profit NGO located in Thetford Center, VT. It was founded in 2004 with a vision of enhancing the practice of corporate sustainability management. To that end, most of CSO's efforts have been applied to the development of advanced tools, methods and metrics for measuring, managing and reporting the sustainability performance of organizations, and to operationalizing the triple bottom line in business. More information about CSO, context-based sustainability, and other topics of importance to sustainability management can be found at CSO's website, or by contacting Dr. McElroy at mmcelroy@vermontel.net.

For more information, please contact:

Mark McElroy Executive Director
Phone: 802-785-2293

For more from this organization:

Center for Sustainable Organizations

 

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