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Jan 09, 2014

Seeking sustainable disclosure

Life Technologies wins award for Most Innovative CSR Disclosure Policy

Life Technologies has been gaining global recognition for its sustainability efforts in recent years, securing a place in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. In 2012, the life sciences firm shifted to paperless reporting of its CSR activities, now available to everyone at Upgrading to a web-based format will allow the company to interact more dynamically with stakeholders by providing up-to-date milestones and real-time data and linking inspiring sustainability accomplishments and stories to its products that are advancing scientific discovery in such areas as genomic medicine, biofuels, food safety and agriculture.

The website features various videos and reports and a link to a carbon calculator, which helps employees, customers and others track and reduce their personal carbon impact. Life Technologies developed the calculator with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate Network.

Winning this year’s Corporate Secretary award for best sustainability practice is in part due to the firm’s adoption of the triple-bottom-line concept of reporting, which goes far beyond traditional disclosure of the firm’s environmental footprint in relation to CSR policies. Information on the company’s greener product alternatives, its bioethics, citizenship and community initiatives, its health and safety programs and its regulatory compliance results are all stored on the website.

To better align its CSR disclosures with its external reporting commitments, Life Technologies overhauled its online Global Reporting Initiative index between 2012 and 2013 to make it more integrated and user-friendly. It includes communication about the company’s progress in enacting the principles laid out in the United Nations Global Compact. The website also highlights the firm’s partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project, which records the company’s water, carbon and supply chain disclosures.

‘For the past few years Life Technologies has been on a journey to transform its CSR disclosures,’ says Cristina Amorim, who was appointed as the firm’s first chief sustainability officer in 2012. ‘We found there was a need for greater transparency to really showcase our accomplishments, progress and shortcomings, demanded by employees, customers and financial analysts.’

The added transparency in the company’s reporting has strengthened its commitment to meeting its sustainability goals. ‘The reaction to some of the new tools we’ve implemented – the web-based reporting, our Step Forward online carbon calculator and the i-book – has been extremely positive,’ says Amorim. ‘The i-book in particular enables our sales force to share information on our sustainability progress and initiatives with our customers. Our reporting tools are also valuable for our talent acquisition team, as corporate sustainability performance is increasingly of interest to job candidates.’

For photos of the 2013 awards, click here.

David Bogoslaw

Associate Editor and Online features producer for Corporate Secretary