Why transparency around environmental impact is good for business

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When doing business in today’s fast-paced world, it’s no longer enough to be the fastest, the brightest or the best.

People want to know that the products they buy haven’t had a negative impact on the Earth and to trust that the companies they support are being honest about their green efforts.

These considerations are becoming an integral part of the decision-making process, and companies on all sides are being called upon to devote more energy to their environmental initiatives and unveiling the details for public scrutiny.

Many are taking this into account – a wise move, as research has shown that transparency around environmental impact is good for business as well as the planet.

It’s a trend that Intrepid Travel has long spearheaded. “Since we began in 1988, our principles have been to deliver sustainable, experience-rich travel, integrated purpose and sustainable growth, improve profitability and leave a legacy,” said Chief Executive Brett. Mitchell. CEO magazine.

“Generally, as a company, we see that there is a strong demand among travelers for sustainable travel options. People want to travel with companies that have the certifications to prove that they are truly sustainable, responsible and transparent.

“People want to travel with companies that have the certifications to prove that they are truly sustainable, responsible and transparent.” –Brett Mitchell

As a wave of greenwashing and impact washing swept through a number of industries, Intrepid realized the need for greater transparency and accountability on environmental impact, opting for B Corp certification.

“B corporations are companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” says Mitchell.

At the start of 2022, there were over 4,500 Certified B companies in 79 countries and over 150 industries. Another helpful metric is the A-List compiled by the nonprofit CDP.

In this year’s list, 272 companies worldwide – with a market capitalization of US$12 trillion – were highlighted for their environmental leadership based on their level of transparency and performance in the areas of climate change. , forests and water security.

A compelling case

The business benefits of this route are compelling. Research has shown that companies that publish their environmental data consistently and annually can actually reap many benefits.

These include protecting and enhancing their reputation, staying ahead of regulation, enhancing their competitive advantage as well as the ability to uncover risks and opportunities, track and benchmark progress, and gain access to lower capital costs.

Mitchell sees benefits for Intrepid as “an integrated goal for the future” and an opportunity to engage with stakeholders about environmental and social impact.

“We deepened our commitment to making positive environmental and social change and discovered that we are truly changing the way we see the world by creating a positive impact for our customers,” he says.

“It’s also helped us show that we’re a diverse and inclusive company, helping us attract talent, tell our brand story and set new goals.”

There is also a financial upside. The Stoxx Global Climate Change Leaders Index, based on CDP’s A-list, has outperformed its benchmark by an average of 5.8% annually over the past eight years.

“The benefits of strong alignment are improved net present value, reduced operating expenses and, of course, reduced emissions.” –Rob Fowler

Partners in Performance – an organization that helps clients move from planning to actually improving emissions performance – has seen similar results in the clients it works with.

“The benefits of strong alignment are improved net present value, reduced operating costs and, of course, reduced emissions,” says partner Rob Fowler.

“We have seen these results in the work we do with our clients. We have helped our customers mitigate 36 Mtpy of CO2 over the past 18 months and are committed to increasing this figure by 30% year-on-year over the next five years.

Discuss deterrents

Yet, while some companies are excelling and many others are stepping up their game, others still refuse to disclose their stats.

There are more than 125 million companies worldwide, so those that embrace this form of accountability are just a drop in the ocean.

CDP reported that 16,870 companies with a market capitalization of US$21 trillion either failed to respond to investor and customer requests for information, or failed to provide sufficient information in their response. .

To implement real change, more companies need to get involved. So what’s holding them back?

The lack of transparency is partly due to a lack of cohesion, according to Fowler. “We are in a net zero race. Many companies rely on their own concepts and journeys, independent of their peers, which results in a lack of collaboration and integration,” he says.

“The lack of collaborative thinking among peers also contributes to a general lack of trust, which potentially becomes a barrier to transparency.

“The interaction between stakeholders, government, society and employees is complex. And while we’re in a race, we need to tackle this as a collective and have a solution to work out for the complexities.

The number of certification programs is also confusing, making it hard to know which one to choose, according to Mitchell. “There are currently over 180 sustainable certifications available in the tourism industry, and there are even travel providers creating their own,” he says.

“This makes it extremely difficult for consumers to differentiate between trustworthy and legitimate.”

Another issue is the lack of an effective measurement standard – a problem Singapore-based climate tech company GAIT is seeking to address.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and at the very heart of the climate crisis is transparency,” said Founder and CEO Saurav Bansal.

“Only by realistically reporting and assessing the ways and degrees of business and government impact on the environment can we begin to tailor our solutions to effectively and systematically address the damage.”

“Many companies rely on their own concepts and journeys, independent of their peers, which leads to a lack of collaboration and integration.” –Rob Fowler

“Nevertheless, the lack of an accurate, transparent, verifiable and consistent measurement standard has resulted in a general lack of transparency and accountability in the marketplace.”

He strongly believes that GAIT’s technology, which leverages flow sensors, spatial data and GAIT’s proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning engine, improves transparency by “providing the world’s most accurate measurement of emissions of carbon”.

Future expectations

Indeed, with more calls to release such information, a new era of accountability is upon us.

Governments are setting new standards for environmental reporting in a bid to stamp out greenwashing and ease the transition to a greener economy, with companies like Intrepid advocating within their own industries.

This essentially means that companies that refuse to disclose their environmental information are riding against a “wave of change”.

“These companies are not only putting the planet at risk, but also themselves.” –Dexter Galvin

“It’s fantastic that more and more companies are disclosing their impact each year and recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental issues,” Dexter Galvin, CDP’s global director of business and supply chains, said in a statement.

“We now need to see even more ambitious climate action and more companies stepping up in other areas of natural capital – 17,000 companies not even taking the first step and reporting their environmental data , It’s way too much.

“These companies not only put the planet at risk, but also themselves. If they continue as before, they will find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, regulation and investor sentiment. And surveillance increases – empty targets or greenwash simply won’t fly.

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