Bringing the Global Perspective to the Individual Level

Global Knowledge Gateway


Bringing the Global Perspective to the Individual Level

by Vincent Tophoff, Senior Technical Manager IFAC | May 16, 2014 |

Within IFAC, sustainability is ever present—it is integrated in all our guidance, thought leadership, and commentary on global issues. Additionally, many of our activities strive to promote sustainable organizational success, such as IFAC’s support to and collaboration with organizations such as the International Integrated Reporting Council, Global Reporting Initiative, Natural Capital Coalition, Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project, and Climate Disclosure Standards Board. We also issue publications specifically focused on sustainability, such as the IFAC Sustainability Framework 2.0.

We are now bringing all our resources and activities, as well as the resources and activities from IFAC member bodies and other organizations, together in the Sustainability area of the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway. As an international organization with an international audience, we feel we are holding our own in terms of participating in the global debate on sustainability. But what about our own actions?

Of course, we have established a green office policy to reduce our own footprint, and we are beginning the work that goes into releasing an integrated report in place of our annual report. We even voted for the most sustainable IFAC employee!

Between these two ends of the same issue—the international sustainability debate and greening ourselves—a few employees in the New York office have teamed up with partners from other organizations in New York. Together, we have recently established the New York Area Sustainability Group.

In this personal initiative, we bring together sustainability professionals and stakeholders in all sectors to discuss emerging trends, best practices, and pragmatic solutions within our industries and communities. Our goal is to facilitate cross-sector collaboration through expert speaker “quick pitch” discussions and by connecting in a forum that supports a diverse view of sustainability. We intend to make it an opportunity to learn, network, and have fun.

Earlier this month, the New York Area Sustainability Group has had its first official meeting, which was a great success.

We were able to secure a great location through a business that not only supports our objectives, but is also a frontrunner in the race toward a zero carbon footprint. We were also able to bring together a group of really interesting and interested people. We also had the first four brave souls present on their work and passion in our inaugural event.

Our format for the evening began with informal networking and quick introductions, followed by four lightening-speed presentations from:

  • Jenna Tatum, Carbon Challenge Coordinator, Mayor of New York's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, on her experiences engaging diverse groups of stakeholders through the city’s Carbon Challenge Program;
  • Curtis Cregan, Account Executive, Interface, Inc., on the Interface, Inc. story and the language used to communicate their sustainability commitment to customers and key stakeholders;
  • Devon Douglas Leahy, Strategy Director, BBMG, on her insights in successfully communicating sustainability to customers and stakeholders through effective marketing strategies; and
  • Cary Krosinsky, Adjunct and Coordinator, Earth Institute, Columbia University, on selling the business value of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives to the investor community, which he argued continues to be a hot topic discussion.

Using an “IGNITE-style” format, our speakers shared their experiences in only eight minutes. Discussion was then opened for the entire group.

So in less than an hour, our new group shared four new perspectives. During our meeting, everyone also had the opportunity to interact with each other and continue the discussions and questions with those who presented. The overall feedback was very positive: a short, sweet, and useful meeting. For us this is a strong motivation to continue the initiative. We see this as another way take our global sustainability concerns and passions to the local level.

Are you doing something similar or interested in starting? Let us know if you would like to know more about joining us in New York or staring your own group in your area.

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