Seeking feedback…read our sustainability review.

I have started work with others in BT on our annual sustainability report for 2011. The process takes  almost a full year.

I am especially interested in the summary document we produce, called our 2010 Sustainability Review. Click on the picture of the cover above to download a PDF of the document.

I struggle with this document: should it be long or short, a reference document or marketing promotional, comprehensive or a bird’s eye view?

Right now I am pretty sure that not enough people are reading our 2010 Sustainability Review, let alone tell us what they think of it.  I think we could be using it better to engage and enthuse civil society.

Stakeholder engagement is one of my primary purposes for blogging.  This post is a request for you to engage.  Click on the link above. Take a look at the PDF – it is 17 pages but you don’t have to read it all.  Read whatever you are moved to read and then give me one critical comment – no obligation to send a comprehensive analysis (although that would be gratefully received).

Were you compelled to read it all or not?  Did it leave you feeling good about BT or critical? Did it give you a complete picture or only a partial one……..the answers to these questions or any other feedback is welcomed.  No prizes, just a commitment from me that your feedback will be included in our planning for next year.

Thanks in anticipation

  1. Comments 5

  2. Lavinia Weissman 12:31 pm on September 13, 2010

    Kevin, I have to be honest in that your report reads how most technical companies format reports and I did not see a compelling strategy in a way that captured me immediately with the recent reports from Sanofi Aventis and Danisco. I am unclear about what you want to achieve with this report for your company, what your mandate is for your job and where you feel BT's mission as a company is aligned with a CSR framework. To me this report tracked ideas that provide a CSR response, but don't align a business strategy with a triple bottom line. I would be more than happy to talk to you about this at length. I have a very extensive Technology and Virtual KM background and I think BT can do so much more to distinguish itself and lead a new future in sustainability for your industry. There is so much more to tackle in issues related to workforce, chemicals, health, and social impacts. I know your Chief Scientist at BT, JP Rangaswami and would love to include him in the conversation. Science is core discipline to CSR and Sustainability. Cordially, Lavinia Weissman

  3. Lavinia Weissman 3:19 pm on September 13, 2010

    Dear Nick, I was troubled by my previous note to you early today. Your report is excellent in the context for which BT is now doing Sustainability work. Yet I encourage you to work with your cohort to up the ante for CSR for the technology sector. I have not had time to really think about what that would mean and I would like to brainstorm that with you. Then I came upon this note on and blog post from CSREurope Businesses urged to show leadership to create a sustainable society The person who is urging this is Prince Charles. He has added to his request the descriptor MAY DAY. We all know CSR is still a frontier. Prince Charles MAYDAY please invites those of us who have been working to establish CSR in a very uninviting climate to even become more aggressive. Please hear my request in that context. You are doing the job you can do in your company culture as an excellent begin point. The invitation now that you have an opportunity to give is to invite your industry, company, colleagues to imagine a deeper cut and how that translates as strategy and action and to invite people from all sectors to be partners and participate. My dream for my work was always to make that intersector invitation real and concrete and BT is a vehicle from which to make this possible. Most cordially, Lavinia Weissman

  4. KevinMoss 1:40 pm on September 14, 2010

    Lavinia, thanks for your considered thoughts and no need to be troubled. Your first thoughts and initial reactions are exactly the sort of frank feedback I am looking for. We do participate in the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability project and are also included in in the A4S Practical Insight book But I don't think these 'technical' responses to sustainability necessarily engage us as public citizens and I think your first response perhaps reflected your views as a public citizen and your second response as a practitioner in the field ?

  5. Lavinia Weissman 2:58 pm on September 14, 2010

    Kevin, I have just opened another conversation with a technology platform firm in San Francisco. They asked to partner with me and in so doing provided me marketing descriptions for how what they do helps other companies sustain social responsible value. I wrote them back and explained that I could not hear that because my priority would be to partner with a company that sought to define their own CSR strategy and walk their talk before they sell their tools as social responsible. I have been following the Prince's conversation for a bit, but not thoroughly. I think I caught wind of it from John Elkington and was pleased to see it. I am advising the current generation of Kennedy Family politicians in a limited a way as a citizen and last night I told them they were not strong enough in giving the message Prince Charles offered in BSR Europe press yesterday. I believe to shift health, environment and more from any perspective we have to define an ecosystem and benchmark what that means and how we translate that to all sectors; so we can honestly and truly exercise precaution from any view to assure health, environment and economy. I am looking for the article now and will find it for you and post it here. I very much appreciate this introduction to a conversation with you and hope we can engage further very soon. Lavinia

  6. Manas Kulkarni 8:41 am on September 20, 2010

    Kevin, BT's done a good job of making the report visually pleasing. The color scheme works well with the central concept of the report and the pictures and graphs are not only relevant, but eye-catching, making the report easier to read. The length is also acceptable; I immediately get the idea that this report could have been a lot longer and crammed with a lot more data, but for now seems fairly streamlined. Still, 18 pages isn't a short read, which makes it slightly discouraging to anyone with a busy schedule. So overall – if I were judging based off of the document itself – I'd be willing to read it provided I had enough time, but I wouldn't feel tremendously compelled. In order to change that, I have a few suggestions, the first of which regards the cover page. It's great as it is – a cover page should be simple with minimal text and an appealing graphic (to be a stickler, I think the current picture could be slightly more relevant to sustainability), and this one certainly does that. However, I'd have appreciated some sort of tagline to the report. Even though the report is clearly about sustainability, I don't know specifically what it entails. But that doesn't necessarily need to be on the cover page. I think the structure of the page following should be reconsidered. I liked the brief summary of BT and even the diagram of its structure. But I think the cash flow charts and pie charts are unnecessary – they may tell me briefly about BT's financial performance, but, that's not why I'm reading this report. And furthermore, the report charts BT's environmental and social progress later in the report, which is far more important to me. In my opinion, I think the contents should be emphasiszed more. Manas K Undergraduate University of Maryland

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