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ContextReporting: A New Free Sustainability Data Visualization and Benchmarking App

“Nobody reads the sustainability reports and websites that we spend so much time and expense preparing,” companies complain (somewhat hyperbolically). Stakeholders who rely on this information from companies bemoan the increasing barrage of data that lacks the necessary context to assess its relevance and validity. Enter ContextReporting, a free sustainability data visualization and benchmarking app, to fill this gap.

ContextReporting is designed around Global Reporting Initiative indicators in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) realms. So you can dive deep into key performance indicators (KPIs) such as total water use (E), product responsibility and human rights (S), and board structure (G).

Let’s say, for example, you’re wondering about the carbon emissions of the semiconductor industry. Just click the first listed profile, Advanced Micro Devices, then under “Emissions Reduction” click “Total CO2 Equivalent Emissions,” and Voilà! — up pops a chart of performance from 2007 to 2010, showing AMD’s emissions going way up in 2008, then back down through 2010.

Wondering about the validity of the data? Scroll down to see the data linked directly to the source documents — for example, page 67 of AMD’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report. ContextReporting only sources data that originates from companies themselves, to keep the information distinct from third-party interpretation or analysis. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

AMD

Now, things get really interesting when you scroll down a little further, to the “Competitive Landscape,” that displays data for the rest of the sector (again, linked to source documents). Click on a few same-country peers  Intel, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments  and up they pop on the chart.

Intel’s impacts are the biggest, in an absolute sense — and, they are steadily decreasing. By comparison, Texas Instruments’ absolute impacts are up and down — most recently, up. But how do they stack up in intensity, when normalized to revenue?

Now, Texas Instruments seems to be having the biggest impact — though at least its emissions are trending downward.

Of course, truly benchmarking sustainability performance would require contextualizing impacts vis-à-vis the relevant real-world thresholds — in this instance, a scientific climate stabilization model. In other words, it would require looking through a sustainability context lens. We didn’t name this app “ContextReporting” by accident — our roadmap of future build-out includes adding a “Sustainability Context” tab.

Another way to contextualize data is through dialogue, to reveal the story behind the data — and surrounding it. ContextReporting is an app hosted by OpenEyeWorld, the online stakeholder engagement platform. We at OpenEye are ushering in the era of Expert Media, which applies interactive social media tools to the enterprise level, enabling experts to engage in collaboration to crowdsource solutions to society’s wicked problems. We foresee the advent of the Sustainable Networked Enterprise, where executives and managers across the company engage regularly with external experts and stakeholders on the journey toward sustainability and ultimately a resilient, regenerative economy.  We look forward to working with our partners to build out a broader ecosystem of positive change  please let us know if you’d like to join us!


As an internationally recognized expert on sustainability context, online stakeholder engagement, and sustainability communications, Bill Baue designs systemic transformation. He's co-founder of a number of companies and initiatives:

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