What Sustainability Context Looks Like

In 2011, our sustainability report focused on the idea of "context" -- or looking beyond normal corporate sustainability indicators to the outcomes and implications of our activities throughout the year. It's a topic that we've written about before (see "The Brutal Truth about Sustainability Reporting" and "Q&A with Mark McElroy, Founder of the Center for Sustainable Organizations"), but we thought it might be interesting to show you how it actually played out in our report.

We put the idea of "sustainability context" front and center in our report's Letter from the President. We've included a screen shot below -- click on the image to blow it up to a size that is easily read on a computer.

We included our standard organizational profile and sustainability goals -- in the same format as previous years:

We also talked about how we tackled the challenge of calculating the impact that our work has on clients, and provided a snapshot "eco-scorecard" for one of our client engagements to demonstrate how we break down impacts for each client.

To be totally honest, we weren't satisfied with the level of "context" that made it into our report. It proved to be a much more difficult task than we anticipated, and one that has given us a lot of food for thought regarding next year's report. As we gear up to begin work on our 7th annual sustainability report, we'd love to hear from you. What kind of additional context would be valuable? What challenges do you face in bringing context to your sustainability report? Please leave a comment here, or join the conversation on Twitter with SSC's president Jennifer Woofter (@jenniferwoofter).

And for those of you who want to get the full picture: download and read our entire 2011 sustainability report.