Not every student project gets a press conference with a mayor! Our students’ hard work with the City of Fall River, MA, got noticed by CSR Wire, Environmental Leader, the Standard Times, and Fall River Herald, as well as EBI Consulting, Triple Pundit (twice), and ISOS Group. A similar project for the Town of Dartmouth, MA, also was covered by the Standard Times.
So what’s the hubbub about? Why was this noticed in Amsterdam?
The students prepared, on behalf of Fall River, the first sustainability report by a city in USA consistent with the world’s most widely used standard for such reports (G3.1 of the GRI) – it’s also the first city report in the world to meet the A application level, meaning that the students found and published over 62 measures of economic, societal, and environmental impact. A few weeks later, the Town of Dartmouth voted to publish the draft report we prepared for them. Dartmouth will therefore be the first town in the USA to have a GRI-guided report, and looks like it also will score a world first as well, in that no other town appears to have published over 62 measures of progress. Dartmouth town leaders even discussed and decided to use the data in the report on an ongoing basis to evaluate decisions and make plans for the future.
Finally, an independent accountant confirmed the sources that students cited in preparing the most recent iteration of the annual sustainability report of UMass Dartmouth (in 2011, it was the first in the world by a university to meet the criteria of the A application level of the GRI’s G3.1 standard), making our report the first in the world to meet the criteria to be called an A+ GRI-guided sustainability report. I’m delighted to be sharing our best practices at Verdexchange 2013 as an invited speaker.
4,000 organizations, including 95% of the Global Fortune 250, publish reports of their impacts on the economy, society, and environment. The reasons include attracting, retaining, and inspiring talent, as well as winning trust of financial backers, branding, and simply managing better. Universities and the public sector face the same challenges. So why not adopt the same practice? Better yet, why not make it a class project and learn some employable skills?
Below: after a lengthy editing session with his staff, we briefed Mayor Flanagan and took a moment to document the day he decided to make the announcement about Fall River adopting sustainability reporting. Left to right: Perry Long, Robert Muller (UMass Dartmouth MBA), Mayor William Flanagan, Shawn Cadime, Adam Sulkowski).