Content thinking: Creatives must lead the field in sustainable business through honesty
Openness, transparency and leadership are essential to deliver the corporate transformation necessary to meet COP26 targets. Creative businesses like ours must grasp the challenge.
As the dust settles on COP26, The Guardian notes a big issue towards greening the business sector; reporting the climate impact of corporate activity.
Regular, standardised climate disclosure from all is now essential to hit COP26 goals. Such disclosure would help investors understand how companies are responding to environmental, social and governance issues, like climate, to inform capital allocation decisions.
This in turn controls the movement and the deployment of green finance and penalises the old school sticking to fossil legacy options. Various reports hint that Shell’s recent withdrawal from the Cambo oil field stems from a detailed disclosure assessment by a private equity firm. Looking at not just the money, but the carbon and the social impacts too.
With all this being the case, creative firms like ours are especially well placed to lead the disclosure revolution, and they must help secure COP26’s legacy. Here’s why.
Disclose, debate, demonstrate
“At Content Coms, we have just completed our latest Climate Disclosure and Social Value Report, available here,” comments Joanna Watchman, Founder and CEO, Content Coms.
“Its 12 pages detail who we work with and why. We detail our client sectors by revenue and they detail any revenue from carbon intensive industry. The point of all this to me is simple. As creatives, we have the inherent skills to analyse metrics and carbon and present these in compelling ways.
“It’s therefore blindingly clear that we as a sector need to lead as being open and transparent and show leadership in the field of sustainable business. Having proven our own house is in order, we can take our reports and our skills to clients and help them to get their data together and published in an impactful way.
“And as a whole, we would then see hastier movement towards disclosure as the norm, and through that, the path to sustainable business is opened. Result; COP26 goals closer, climate mitigation a reality.”
A level playing field
Now of course, the real world isn’t quite this simple. But creative pledges to regularly disclose would really help. Here’s what else we at Content Coms would like to see.
The Guardian article we referenced earlier notes a problem on disclosure. It is simply this; that several competing disclosure models present different pictures. It’s complex though. The Guardian lists the bumps in the road:
‘The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) in the US, established by the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) and supported by Bloomberg, has developed one model. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has worked on another. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), based in Amsterdam, has produced a wide range of sustainability standards. And the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), convened by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in Basel, recommends a set of disclosures that many banks have adopted under pressure from their regulators – many of whom are members of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).’
That, by anyone’s assessment, is a mouthful. At Content Coms, we disclose because we know it is the right thing to do. But we are also aware that standardisation and a level playing field that would enable open comparison from company to company is essential.
Why does this not yet exist? Two reasons; perhaps the first is that scientists love a debate. And they should, debate draws us unerringly to the correct conclusions. So the knowledge folk each feel their particular modelling on disclosure is best.
Second, perhaps it’s because less than scrupulous multi-nationals have been known to approach universities and scientists with hefty sums of cash, seeking various analyses that mysteriously play to their strengths, not their weaknesses on carbon.
Herein the challenge; rollout disclosure fast, globally with the creative sector leading. But make sure it’s done so we can all see when eggs are eggs. Or not, as the case may be.
The final word
Content Coms’ disclosure work is in open view. We encourage others in our sector to follow us. We know disclosure is imperfect and we dream of the day when a global standard applied from the smallest agency to the largest manufacturer shows a compelling picture of the transition to green business.
We will all get there. Let’s start now.