The organizer of a corporate responsibility conference sent me a message announcing the good news that the CEO of a big success story among successful sustainability companies would be a speaker. The success was based on the DOW-Jones SAM sustainability indexes.
I did not know much about the Dow-Jones SAM sustainability indexes so I did a bit of research. Well it is good that someone is trying to measure these things ... I suppose.
And then I looked at the company that was this big success ... and again good that they have the word sustainability in their vocabulary. But I had to laugh when I found the reference to sustainability in their stockholder report. I quote (from their website):
Sustainability PerformanceMy first read had me thinking that safety was the highlight of their sustainability, but then I realized that safety was a freestanding idea ... which is OK. But in the section of the website about sustainability most of the talk is still about how much return the stockholders are going to get from what the company does.
Chairman's Statement on the Report 2009
Our sustainability agenda gathered momentum during 2009. I took great pride in the fact that AkzoNobel was again listed among the world leaders in the Chemicals sector on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, with a second place rating. Our clear objective is to remain in the top three. Safety – just one part of our broader sustainability agenda – also remained paramount and continuous step-by-step improvements have been made in our performance. In fact, the total reportable rate of injuries for our employees and contractors improved by around 20 percent during 2009, while we are still striving to achieve our ambitious 2010 target of two or less injuries per one million hours worked. I feel confident that we will get there.
Despite the challenges we faced during 2009, there can be no doubt that it was a year in which we demonstrated the fundamental strength of our company. We have the utmost confidence in that strength, and in the ability of our management to successfully guide AkzoNobel into the future. We will therefore propose a dividend at the upper end of the dividend policy range to our shareholders at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
Visit the 2009 Report website for full details about our sustainability performance.
This is a chemical company. They make all sorts of products that are bought to improve quality of life. They employ people and pay good wages (I believe). They use raw materials that may or may not be part of sustainable society, and the by-products and waste may or may not be damaging to the environment. I know nothing about this company and society ... and they are not telling me much.
It's a joke ... I want to laugh ... but instead I am mad as hell!