As usual, CSR Blog readers had a chance to ask Dr. Sustainability some questions.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: I have heard that by 2030, the world will be OK and there will be no hunger, poverty or abuses of human rights and there will be world peace, all due to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals? Can you confirm this?
Dear Boundless Optimist: Of course I can confirm this. But remember, if by 2030 we fail to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we can always make some new ones like we did last time.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: Of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that have been ratified, which one do you think is the most likely to be achieved?
Dear Intellectual: Number 18.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: But there is no number 18.
Dear Intellectual: Exactly.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: We are a small business and our impacts are modest. How can we contribute to advancing the SDGs ?
Dear Contributor: Every action is worth something. Whatever your actions are worth, please calculate the value and put that on a money order addressed to Dr. Sustainability, Hollywood.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: We are thinking of developing a new sustainability initiative at our privately-owned printing company. The initiative is designed to alleviate poverty by creating new wealth through the manufacture of money. We plan to provide 3D printers to small impoverished communities in the Niger Delta. They will be able to print notes and coins and even new wallets for the adult population. Could this be a solution to many of the social problems caused by poverty?
Dear Creative: This is a wonderful initiative. I am all for distribution of wealth. The only problem I foresee here is that, as ApplePay takes over, they wont have a need for money as they will pay for everything using their iPhones.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: Do you believe in karma? My boss says that sustainability is simply an issue of karma. If you screw the planet, it will screw you.
Dear Spiritualist: I think your boss is quite wise. Karma is a bit like the chicken and the egg. The chain had to start somewhere. You have to undo all the unkarma things you did before you can start becoming karma positive. You can start by making a karma offset through the Dr. Sustainability Dekarmazation Fund that rights the world’s wrongs as Dr. Sustainability gets rich. Money orders to Dr. Sustainability, Hollywood.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: Now that everyone is using the G4 guidelines, do you feel confident that we can overcome climate change?
Dear G4-user: That depends if climate change is material.
Dear Hand-Shaker: Of course, I will be at the conference. Who won’t? But I don’t do handshakes unless your palm is greased with Euros.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: We recently did a materiality assessment and came up with more than 3,000 material topics that we screened down to one after a process of stakeholder engagement and management analysis. The one issue that we identified as being most material was the time wasted on packing lines at our factories through people taking bathroom breaks. Our process was very robust. We used an accounting firm.
Dear Materiality: What’s your question?
Dear Dr. Sustainability: I have no question.
Dear Materiality: If your main issue is bathroom breaks , you should have lots of questions.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: I am so worried about our next Sustainability Report that I can’t sleep at nights. I have the feeling that we will never get to publish our report. We have made so many revisions, legal keep wanting to review it, senior management keep changing words, the designer keeps making mistakes and we have to correct it all over again and again and again. I am worried that we won’t complete the report on time to publish this year – it’s already November.
Dear Sleepless: No Sustainability Report is worth losing sleep over. Once the report is out, people will look at the content and not when it was published. Publishing a report at the end of 2015 for 2014 performance is rather late, but it’s not the end of the world.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: The report covers 2013.
Dear Sleepless: In that case, just change all the dates from 2013 to 2015, publish in 2016 and no-one will be any the wiser. Oh, and don’t tell the legal folks.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: I hear that GRI guidelines are becoming GRI standards. What do you say about that?
Dear Standard-Setter: That’s nice for GRI. SASB has standards. IIRC has standards. Even ISO 26000 is a standard. Who’s anyone without a standard? Now GRI will be just like everyone else.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: Do you plan to be at the Paris climate summit?
Dear Paris-watcher: It seems that the trend these days is that everyone is explaining why they will be in Paris or why they won’t be in Paris. I have never been one to go with the trend so I will remain silent on whether I will attend and why or why not. Of course, remaining silent is one of my great life challenges, so watch this space, just in case.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: What advice would you give to our company? We have published 13 annual Sustainability Reports to date, but now we have no budget to develop content for a next report as times are hard.
Dear Hard-Up: My advice would be to publish a Best of Sustainability Reports, as a compilation of all the best bits from all 13 reports to date. If you’re lucky, no-one will even notice.
Dear Dr. Sustainability: How many Sustainability Reports have you enjoyed reading in your lifetime?
Dear Report-Reader: All of them. But please wait a second while I uncross my fingers.