Why was it Developed?
In 1997, two of the Fortune 500 Board of Directors meetings I participated in sowed the seeds for The Sustainability Scorecard.
- Ashland: Patrick Noonan (then Chairman of The Conservation Fund and former Chairman of The Nature Conservancy) was Chair of Ashland’s Board of Directors Public Policy Environment Committee. Over the years, I participated in many of these committee meetings. In one meeting, Pat Noonan asked me if we could develop a scorecard that would help board members navigate the turbulent waters of sustainability.
- Honeywell (then AlliedSignal): Larry Bossidy has been regarded widely as a master of business strategy and execution – and for good reason. I first knew of him early in my career when I worked at GE. In over a dozen Board Committee meetings, I watched him in action and learned how he thought and operated.
During those 1997 Board meetings, directors discussed the fact that leading companies – particularly those based in Europe – were beginning to address sustainability in a comprehensive way. I was asked the question I have been asked in over 50 Board of Directors meetings at major (Fortune 500) corporations: How do we stack up?
I decided then to craft The Sustainability Scorecard. Pat Noonan planted the seed and said to keep corporate governance and leadership at the core. Larry Bossidy taught me to focus on strategy and execution.
We developed The Sustainability Scorecard to address the needs of the Board of Directors at corporations – particularly at large corporations. After using The Scorecard successfully in a number of C-suite and Board meetings, we have engaged with many clients over the course of 18 years to strengthen The Scorecard.
The Scorecard distills 30 years of industry knowledge, interaction with many dozens of CEOs and Board members, and sustainability expertise into an easy-to-use tool. The Scorecard – and the simple rating templates that support it – helps CEOs and their staff members understand where they stand on a range of core areas that are critical to implementing a robust sustainability strategy.
The Scorecard can be used by various individuals and groups within a company. However, it is designed primarily for use by the “chief sustainability officer” (or equivalent). That is the person who oversees internal sustainability efforts and who reports to the CEO and Board of Directors or Board Committee about sustainability posture, programs, performance, and plans.