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Monday, February 11, 2013

Sustainability Reporting for SMEs

While this blog was intended as a place where I could review books that other people have written (and I apologize for a long silence, as I have not managed to make the time both to read AND review some great books in recent months), I will break the mould by making a temporary role-switch. This time, instead of a review written by me of a book by somebody else, it's the other way around. Please find below a great review written by Debbie Griffiths of Ideal Word Ltd, a CSR and Sustainability communications and consulting firm, based in the UK. Ideal Word practise what they preach as an SME and have published six fabulous own CSR reviews for their own company -  the latest one being their 2012 CSR Review 
Here is my new book:

Author: Elaine Cohen
Publisher: part of the DōShorts series by DōSustainability
Publication Date: February 2013
Page extent: 97 pages
Formats and ISBNs: pdf 9781909293380 epub 9781909293373 print 9781909293366

Here is Debbie's review, first published on her blog, Ideally Speaking, on 11 February 2013.

Sustainability Reporting for SMEs by Elaine Cohen was sizzlingly hot off the press when I bought a limited-edition hard copy at the Smarter Sustainability Reporting conference last week. Published by DōSustainability, the book is intended to be downloaded as a DōShorts 90-minute e-book for your commute.
As one half of an ethical micro-enterprise that has been publishing CSR reviews for the past six years, I was instantly attracted to the title. At last, a respected name in the industry was providing advice for people in my position. Also, Elaine Cohen runs her own SME, so she knows exactly what she’s talking about.
That said, I agree with her assertion that the book would be equally valuable for sustainability managers in larger companies whose success depends on the transparency and accountability of their supply chain – a very hot potato in the UK food chain right now! Anyone wanting to encourage their SME suppliers to report on sustainability issues would do well to start them off with this book.
Elaine gives clear descriptions and definitions that would be helpful to SMEs doing this for the first time, along with real-life case studies and practical how-to guidance. One of the things I found most illuminating was the fact that the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and the UN Global Compact Communication of Progress were tools that could easily and usefully be used by SMEs. I’d always thought they were for large companies, not one of my size.
The ‘Roadmap to Transparency’ chapter is my favourite and I’ve gleaned many ideas that I want to put into practice to take our sustainability reporting onto a higher level. I also got a lot out of the ‘Guidance for Developing a Sustainability Report’ chapter.
My only concern is whether the book’s title is appealing enough for a more mainstream SME audience? Elaine talks about the importance of giving sustainability reports an eye-catching title and says she wanted to call this book: ‘Make More Money: Sustainability Reporting for SMEs’. I think she should have gone with that if she wanted to reach a wider variety of SMEs, way beyond those of us who are already converted to the cause.
To read an extract of the book, or to download or rent a copy, visit:
Debbie Griffiths is a sustainability consultant, copywriter and co-founder of Ideal ( ), a values-led business specialising in wordsmithing, branding and CSR.
Many thanks, Debbie for this great review! I hope this short book will also be useful to the many many SMEs out there who would benefit from Sustainability Reporting (and make more money) but don't quite know where to start.
Elaine Cohen, CSR Consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict.
Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices and Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: competitive Advantage through Transparency  Contact me via on Twitter or via my website
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