Updated Feb. 14 to modify information about level of LEED certification sought for Deloitte University.
When I was covering information technology services more closely, I was often struck by the have- and have-not nature of the business. That is, there were many times when the experts selling a new widget, application or piece of whiz-bang networking gear didn't have the benefit of actually using what they were recommending. It always struck me as a little ironic.
So, I must admit that I scrutinize the corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategy reports of the so-called sustainability services companies -- many of the same management consulting companies you have known for years -- just a wee bit closer than those of other companies. Maybe that isn't fair, but I figure that if you're going to advise people about this sort of thing, you should at least be trying to do it yourself within your business operation.
Up today it Deloitte, which just published a report covering the fiscal year ended May 31, 2010. The report was compiled with an eye to conforming with the Global Reporting Initiative standards, which is a good checklist item for starters. As documents go, it is pretty easy to navigate although (note to the Deloitte Web team) it seems to load somewhat slowly when you reach the home link.
I spent most of my time looking at two sections of the report: an interview with the company's first Corporate Responsibility Officer, Tom Dekar, and the section that highlights some of the specific achievements and goals the company has laid out. More on the latter in a moment. There were two insights in particular from the Dekar interview that I want to share, in the form of quote excerpts.
The first underscores the fact that sustainability measures -- like all great business strategies -- are moving targets. They will change over time. Dekar says:
"What has been challenging -- and we view this as a good thing -- is that the performance bar within the corporate responsibility and sustainability (CS/R) community continues to rise so that maintaining a leadership stance requires more and more creativity and progress. Achievements that were once considered extraordinary are now 'table stakes.' "
The other thing worth special note is the weight that Dekar plans to put into getting more of the company's roughly employees on board. He notes:
"We want to more deeply embed the concept of sustainability and corporate responsibility in the minds of all our approximately 46,000 people across the United States and in India. We will accomplish this through education and training programs for our people, robust internal greening initiatives, substantial volunteer programs, constant internal and external communications programs, and making CR a key part of Deloitte's strategy."
I'll wind up this post with some of Deloitte's specific milemarkers. I'll remind you that these metrics are at least six months old, although that's actually a lot fresher than a lot of the other sustainability data that we're bound to see in the next few months. Here goes:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com